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Clin Neurophysiol. 2008 Mar;119(3):626-34. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2007.11.007. Epub 2007 Dec 27.

Magnetoencephalographic pattern of epileptiform activity in children with early-onset autism spectrum disorders.

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  • 1Unit of Neuropediatrics, Hospital Universitari del Mar, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Passeig Marítim 25-29, E-08003 Barcelona, Spain. 10030amy@comb.es



To provide further data around magnetoencephalographic (MEG) findings in early-onset autism spectrum disorders (ASD).


Thirty-six children (mean age 7 years) diagnosed of PDD (DSM-IV, ICD-10) were studied. There were 22 children with autistic disorder, 9 with Asperger's syndrome, and 5 with pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). According to the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), the autistic disorder was mild to moderate in 11, and severe in 11. Neuroimaging studies using three-dimensional MRI as well as simultaneous MEG-EEG and fusion techniques through magnetic source imaging (MSI) were performed, with the aid of anesthesia in non-cooperative patients.


Most patients had no EEG abnormalities. All ASD children showed common specific abnormalities in the shape of low amplitude monophasic and biphasic spikes (isolated or short bursts) as well as acute waves, predominantly distributed in the perisylvian areas. In Asperger's syndrome, epileptiform spikes were mostly found in the right hemisphere. No lateralized epileptiform activity was observed in non-Asperger's autistic patients.


MEG epileptiform activity is frequently documented in children with early-onset ASD.


Subclinical epileptiform activity is present especially in the perisylvian regions for many patients with ASD.

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