Autistic syndrome with onset at age 31 years: herpes encephalitis as a possible model for childhood autism

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1991 Oct;33(10):920-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1991.tb14804.x.


The author describes a previously healthy man who contracted herpes encephalitis at the age of 31 years, and over the following months developed all the symptoms considered diagnostic of autism. This case report casts doubt on the notion of autism as an exclusively developmental disorder. It is suggested that temporal lobe damage may cause autism in some cases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / etiology*
  • Communication
  • Electroencephalography
  • Encephalitis / complications*
  • Encephalitis / diagnosis
  • Encephalitis / therapy
  • Herpes Simplex / complications*
  • Herpes Simplex / diagnosis
  • Herpes Simplex / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Social Behavior