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Epilepsy and Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Epidemiological Study in Shanghai, China

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Epilepsy and Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Epidemiological Study in Shanghai, China

Anyi Zhang et al. Front Psychiatry.

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disease that may involve various brain abnormalities. However, there are few large epidemiological studies on the relation between epilepsy and ASD in terms of different genders and ages. This study aimed to evaluate the relation between epilepsy and ASD based on 74,251 Chinese children aged 3-12 years who were recruited from kindergartens and primary schools in China. ASD was diagnosed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fifth Edition (DSM-V), and verification of epilepsy was based on medical records. The enrolled children diagnosed with ASD were examined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and took genetic tests to rule out other neurological and congenital diseases. The raw odds ratio (OR) was 60.53 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 37.80-96.92, P < 0.01] for epilepsy and ASD, and the adjusted OR was 38.99 (95% CI = 20.70-73.41, P < 0.01) after controlling for the confounders. Moreover, the adjusted OR was significantly higher in girls (OR = 45.26, 95% CI = 16.42-124.76, P < 0.01) than in boys (OR = 32.64, 95% CI = 14.33-74.34, P < 0.01). Among children with younger age, the adjusted OR was the highest (OR = 75.12, 95% CI = 22.80-247.48.16, P < 0.01). These findings suggest that epilepsy might be closely linked to the development of ASD, especially for early-onset epilepsy and among girls.

Keywords: age; autism spectrum disorder; epilepsy; gender; social function neural network.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Detailed participation diagram.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Sensitivity analysis of the association between epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in different genders and age groups. Panel (A) shows the multivariable logistic regression in different genders. After adjusting for the co-variables, including age, body mass index (BMI), paternal reproductive age, parents’ education level, gestational factors including depression and nervousness during pregnancy, parents’ unsociable characteristic, and overindulging in caregiving, the effect size of the association between epilepsy and ASD is higher in girls [odds ratio (OR) = 45.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 16.42–124.76, P < 0.01] than in boys (OR = 32.64, 95% CI = 14.33–74.34, P < 0.01). Panel (B) shows the multivariable logistic regression in different age groups. After adjusting for the co-variables, including age, BMI, paternal reproductive age, parents’ education level, gestational factors including depression and nervousness during pregnancy, parents’ unsociable characteristic, and overindulging in caregiving, the effect size of the association between epilepsy and ASD is at the highest level in the youngest group (OR = 75.12, 95% CI = 22.80–247.48, P < 0.01), and in age groups 2 and 3, the OR values are 42.09 (95% CI = 13.93–127.22, P < 0.01) and 36.98 (95% CI = 13.33–102.58, P < 0.01), respectively. ***P < 0.001.

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