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AES 2022 | Epilepsy in patients with autism spectrum disorder

There is a significant overlap between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and epilepsy, with a many as 30-40% of people with ASD also having epilepsy. Jay A. Salpekar, MD, FAES, Kennedy Krieger Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, discusses our understanding of comorbid ASD and epilepsy and how pathophysiological insights may lead to novel treatment targets. While the reasons for the high rate of overlap are not fully clear, the crossover in risk factors and brain pathologies are likely to contribute. For example, synaptic dysfunction, anomalous connectivity, and network hyperexcitability are common to both disorders. The proposed relationships between ASD and epilepsy may provide insight into practical management or treatment options. Given the substantial heterogeneity in both conditions, many questions remain regarding their relationship and new, high-quality evidence is needed. This interview took place at the American Epilepsy Society (AES) Annual Meeting 2022 in Nashville, TN.

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