Doctors have known about a link between autism and epilepsy since a psychiatrist published the first case study about children with "autistic disturbance" some 70 years ago. Still, many questions remain unanswered or controversial, including how often epilepsy occurs in people with autism. Find out who is more likely to be at risk of having both conditions, and what new research tells us about the autism-epilepsy connection.
Genetics and autism
In different laboratories on opposite sides of the U.S., two researchers were waiting.
The June 9, 2011 issue of Neuron featured three groundbreaking studies on autism genetics.
A new approach to studying genetics may permit us to understand what genetic "tweaks" have caused an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a specific individual.
Connie Anderson, Ph.D.
IAN Community Scientific Liaison
Date First Published: May 27, 2011
The psychiatric diagnostic manual published in 2013 does not include Rett Syndrome in the same category as autism spectrum disorder, although autism may co-occur in children with Rett syndrome.
The possibility that there is a form of autism that co-occurs with, or is caused by, mitochondrial disease has recently come under intense discussion.
Date First Published: April 2, 2007
Date Last Updated: November 22, 2010
Autism occurs more frequently in certain disorders, including fragile X syndrome, or FXS. Fragile X, the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability, is caused by the mutation of a single gene, called FMR1, on the X chromosome.
In recent years, it has become ever more evident that genetic factors play a role in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), although environmental factors may also be involved.