Treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE) is common among individuals with idiopathic autism, research has shown, who are likely to require respite care.
A study, published online in journal Epilepsia, also found that delayed global development and an early onset of seizures were linked to a higher frequency of resistance to antiepileptic drugs.
More than one-third of participants in the study were found to have TRE as well as autism. Additionally, among the 127 patients who had autism and had experienced at least one epileptic seizure, 34 per cent had TRE and 28 per cent were seizure free.
Dr Orrin Devinsky said: "Further studies are needed to explore the association between chronic epilepsy and autism."
This follows the identification of a social interaction gene in autism, which affects the severity of social interaction dysfunction in people with the condition, potentially affecting whether they require respite care.
The study, conducted at Johns Hopkins, supported previous evidence that autism spectrum disorders are connected to an imbalance of inhibitory and excitatory signalling at synapses.
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