Increased prevalence of seizures in boys who were probands with the FMR1 premutation and co-morbid autism spectrum disorder
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- Chonchaiya, W., Au, J., Schneider, A. et al. Hum Genet (2012) 131: 581. doi:10.1007/s00439-011-1106-6
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Seizures are a common co-occurring condition in those with fragile X syndrome (FXS), and in those with idiopathic autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Seizures are also associated with ASD in those with FXS. However, little is known about the rate of seizures and how commonly these problems co-occur with ASD in boys with the FMR1 premutation. We, therefore, determined the prevalence of seizures and ASD in boys with the FMR1 premutation compared with their sibling counterparts and population prevalence estimates. Fifty premutation boys who presented as clinical probands (N = 25), or non-probands (identified by cascade testing after the proband was found) (N = 25), and 32 non-carrier controls were enrolled. History of seizures was documented and ASD was diagnosed by standardized measures followed by a team consensus of ASD diagnosis. Seizures (28%) and ASD (68%) were more prevalent in probands compared with non-probands (0 and 28%), controls (0 and 0%), and population estimates (1 and 1.7%). Seizures occurred more frequently in those with the premutation and co-morbid ASD particularly in probands compared with those with the premutation alone (25 vs. 3.85%, p = 0.045). Although cognitive and adaptive functioning in non-probands were similar to controls, non-probands were more likely to meet the diagnosis of ASD than controls (28 vs. 0%, p < 0.0001). In conclusion, seizures were relatively more common in premutation carriers who presented clinically as probands of the family and seizures were commonly associated with ASD in these boys. Therefore, boys with the premutation, particularly if they are probands should be assessed carefully for both ASD and seizures.