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Epilepsia. 2006 Feb;47(2):394-8.

Absence of seizures despite high prevalence of epileptiform EEG abnormalities in children with autism monitored in a tertiary care center.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of California at Irvine College of Medicine, UCI Medical Center, 101 The City Drive, Orange, CA 92868, U.S.A.



Children with autism are commonly referred for video-EEG monitoring to determine the precise nature of their seizure-like events.


We studied 32 children with autism by using continuous video-EEG telemetry (VEEG) monitoring at a tertiary care referral center.


Of the 32 total patients, 22 were primarily referred for seizure evaluation and 10 for 24-h interictal EEG recording. Studies in two additional patients were prematurely terminated because of intolerance (they are not included in the analyses). The median monitoring duration was 1 day (range, 1-7 days). Of 22 patients referred for seizure evaluation, 15 had recorded events, but none was an epileptic seizure; the other seven patients had no recorded events. Interictal epileptiform EEG abnormalities were detected in 19 (59%) of 32 patients. These abnormalities included focal sharp waves (in eight patients), multifocal sharp waves (in six patients), generalized spike-wave complexes (in 11 patients), and generalized paroxysmal fast activity/polyspikes (in two patients). Focal/multifocal and generalized epileptiform abnormalities coexisted in six patients. Notably, 11 (73%) of the 15 patients with nonepileptic events had interictal epileptiform EEG abnormalities.


Video-EEG evaluation of children with autism reveals epileptiform EEG abnormalities in the majority. However, many recorded seizure-like events are not epileptic, even in children with epileptiform EEG abnormalities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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