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J Child Neurol. 2010 Jul;25(7):873-80. doi: 10.1177/0883073810361789. Epub 2010 Mar 5.

Autism spectrum disorders in tuberous sclerosis: pathogenetic pathways and implications for treatment.

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Department of Neurosciences, Pediatric Neurology Unit, Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy.

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  • J Child Neurol. 2012 Feb;27(2):275.


Autism spectrum disorders have been reported as being much more frequent in individuals with tuberous sclerosis than in the general population. Previous studies have implicated early seizure onset and the localization of cortical tubers in the temporal lobes as risk factors for autism. However, the underlying reasons for this association remain largely unclear. The dysregulation of intracellular signaling through the activation of mTOR pathway could play a direct role in determining susceptibility to autism. Early control of seizures and an early intensive behavioral intervention of autism during the period of brain plasticity can mitigate, but not reverse the final outcome. A greater understanding of the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying autism in tuberous sclerosis could help in devising targeted and potentially more effective treatment strategies.

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