Early Death in Those with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Published by: Psychology Today
Written by: Michael A. Ellis

Two recent studies will undoubtedly shock individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These studies show a much earlier age of death in those with ASD as compared with the general population.

One study, published in the American Journal of Public Health in April 2017, finds the life expectancy in the United States of those with ASD to be 36 years old as compared to 72 years old for the general population.  They note that those with ASD are 40 times more likely to die from various injuries.  About 28 percent of those with ASD die of an injury.  Most of these are suffocation, asphyxiation, and drowning.  The risk of drowning peaks at about 5 to 7 years old.  As 50 percent of those with ASD wander, water safety and swim lessons are a must.  GPS trackers are also available for purchase should a child wander or get lost.  This makes finding the child or adult much easier and faster. Click here to read the rest of the story

Epilepsy Links and Resources

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder which causes seizures through electrical impulses occurring in the brain. It is the fourth most common neurological disorder. Epilepsy affects 50 million people worldwide. In the U.S., 1 out of 26 people are affected. Want to learn more? click on the articles below.

37 helpful epilepsy resources

Apps for tracking seizure

Benign Roladric Epilepsy

Epilepsy Facts

Epilepsy driving and state regulations

Epilepsy-General Information

Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

Ohtahara Syndrome

November is epilepsy month

West Syndrome

What you need to know about Dravet Syndrome

When an employee has a seizure

What to do when someone has a seizure

 

 

 

Overlap in traits of autism, attention deficit persists into adulthood

Published by: Spectrum
Written by: Nicholette Zeliadt

Traits linked to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tend to co-occur even in adulthood, according to one of the first studies of the traits in that age group1.

The results extend support for the idea that autism and ADHD are intrinsically linked — a notion that is largely based on studies of children.

“Not much is known about the transition from later adolescence into adulthood with regard to autism and ADHD,” says lead investigator Ralf Kuja-Halkola, a statistician at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Click here to read the rest of the story.

What is a Non-Epileptic Seizure?

Did you know that there are seizures that are not due to epilepsy? Since November is Epilepsy Awareness Month, I thought this would be a great opportunity to share information on non-epileptic seizures. It is especially important to know about non-epileptic seizures since 1 in 5 people diagnosed are later found to have non-epileptic seizures.

What is a Non-Epileptic Seizure?

A non-epileptic seizure displays characteristics similar to epilepsy seizures by mimicking similar signs and symptoms including control over their body through shaking movements, blacking out and falling. From the outside, the signs look similar however, the causes are quite different. Non-epileptic seizures, also known as non-epileptic attack disorders (NEAD) tend to resemble a seizure however, they are not caused by electrical impulses in the brain, rather it may be due to an overload of stress including a death in the family, abuse and past painful experiences, causing some to have difficulty handling thoughts and memories in the brain.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

While the signs differ for each person, a common sign mirrors tonic-clonic seizures involving similar movement including the shaking of the arms, legs and head. Small differences include the person tends to have their eyes closed during the attack which generally last longer than an epileptic seizure.

Who is likely to have a non-epileptic seizure?

Although non-epilepsy seizures can occur to anyone, at any age, studies found people with non-epileptic seizures are:

  • More common in women
  • More common in people experiencing depression and anxiety
  • Likely to occur to people who experience an emotional, stressful event
  • More likely to start in young adults.
Diagnosing Non-Epileptic Seizures

The most effective way for neurologist to diagnose a non-epileptic seizure is through a series of test including personal history, medical history and an electroencephalogram (EEG) used to detect abnormal electrical discharges (would not show up in a person diagnosed with non-epileptic seizures).

Treatment

Treatment is based on the cause of the seizures. Options may include:

  • Medication (antidepressants)
  • psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
  • Counseling
References

Cleveland Clinic

Epilepsy.org.uk

Non-Epileptic Attacks.Info

Wikipedia

 

Children and Ring Chromosome 20 Syndrome

What is Ring Chromosome 20 Syndrome?

Ring Chromosome 20 Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that is the result of a ring that develops when a chromosome breaks in two places and the short arm of a chromosome has merged with the tip of the long arm.

This anomaly causes recurrent seizures during childhood. It is reported that the seizure can occur at anytime from during the day time to sleeping at night, it is very rare. In fact only 50 cases have been reported in research journals. However, this form of epilepsy can occur from birth to 17 years old.

What makes this rare form of seizures unique is that it does not respond to anti-epileptic medication. Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) tends to be successful as well as the Ketogenic diet in reducing the number of seizures.

Children diagnosed with Ring Chromosome 20 Syndrome typically experience several types of seizures including:

  • Focal seizure
  • Non-convulsive status epilepticus
  • Frontal lobe seizures
  • Tonic seizures
  • Generalized tonic-clonic seizures
Signs and Symptoms

Children with Ring Chromosome 20 Syndrome generally face challenges in the area of behavioral, learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities. In some instances, children may display physical characteristics including slow growth, short stature and a small size head.

Signs and Symptoms of Intellectual Disability
  • Decrease learning ability
  • Delays in crawling
  • Difficulty solving problems
  • Lack of curiosity
  • Language and speech delays
  • Poor motor skills
  • Short attention span
Teaching Strategies
  • Use short and simple sentences
  • Repeat directions
  • use strategies for remembering such as clustering information together
  • Provide immediate feedback
Signs and Symptoms of learning disabilities
  • Difficulty recognizing non-verbal cues such as facial expression
  • Fine motor skills difficulty
  • Weak visual discrimination abilities.
Teaching Strategies
  • Use a multi-sensory approach
  • Break into small steps
  • use probing techniques
  • use diagrams and pictures.
References

Genetics Home Reference

Rare Chromosome Organization

Wikipedia