Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 1308–1313 | Cite as

Epilepsy in Individuals with a History of Asperger’s Syndrome: A Danish Nationwide Register-Based Cohort Study

  • Svend Erik MouridsenEmail author
  • Bente Rich
  • Torben Isager
Original Paper


We performed a nationwide, register-based retrospective follow-up study of epilepsy in all people who were born between January 1, 1980 and June 29, 2006 and registered in the Danish Psychiatric Central Register with Asperger’s syndrome on February 7, 2011. All 4,180 identified cases with AS (3,431 males and 749 females) were screened through the nationwide Danish National Hospital Register (DNHR) with respect to epilepsy. Mean age at follow-up was 18.1 years (range 4–31 years). Of the 4,180 individuals with AS, 164 (3.9 %) were registered with at least one epilepsy diagnosis in the DNHR, which is significantly increased (p < 0.0001) relative to the same age group in the general population, where an estimate is about 2.0 %.


Asperger’s syndrome Epilepsy Prevalence Comorbidity 



The study was supported by a grant from Fru. C. Hermansens Foundation.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  2. Amiet, C., Gourfinkel-An, I., Bouzamondo, A., Tordjman, S., Baulac, M., Lechat, P., et al. (2008). Epilepsy in autism is associated with intellectual disability and gender: Evidence from a meta-analysis. Biological Psychiatry, 64, 577–582.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Analytical Software. (2006). STATISTIX. Tallahassee, FL: Analytical Software.Google Scholar
  4. Andersen, T. F., Madsen, M., Jørgensen, J., Mellemkjoer, L., & Olsen, J. H. (1999). The Danish National Hospital Register. A valuable source of data for modern health sciences. Danish Medical Bulletin, 46, 263–268.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Asperger, H. (1944). Autistic psychopathy in childhood: In U. Frith (Ed). Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome (pp. 37–92). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1991.Google Scholar
  6. Bauman, M. L. (2010). Medical comorbidities in autism: Challenge to diagnosis and treatment. Neurotherapeutics, 7, 320–327.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berg, A. T., & Plioplys, S. (2012). Epilepsy and autism: Is there a special relationship? Epilepsy & Behavior, 23, 193–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Canitano, R. (2007). Epilepsy in autism spectrum disorders. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 16, 61–66.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cederlund, M., & Gillberg, C. (2004). One hundred males with Asperger syndrome: A clinical study of background and associated factors. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 46, 652–660.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Christensen, J., Vestergaard, M., Olsen, J., & Sidenius, P. (2007a). Validation of epilepsy diagnoses in the Danish National Hospital Register. Epilepsy Research, 75, 162–170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Christensen, J., Vestergaard, M., Pedersen, M. G., Pedersen, C. B., Olsen, J., & Sidenius, P. (2007b). Incidence and prevalence of epilepsy in Denmark. Epilepsy Research, 76, 60–65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Commission on Classification and Terminology of the International League Against Epilepsy. (1981). Proposal for revised clinical and electroencephalographic classification of epileptic seizures. Epilepsia, 22, 489–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lauritsen, M. B., Jørgensen, M., Madsen, K. M., et al. (2010). Validity of childhood autism in the Danish Psychiatric Central Register: Findings from a cohort sample born 1990–1999. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40, 139–148.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mors, O., Perto, G. P., & Mortensen, P. B. (2011). The Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 39(Suppl 7), 54–57.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mouridsen, S. E., Brønnum-Hansen, H., Rich, B., & Isager, T. (2008). Mortality and causes of death in autism spectrum disorders: An update. Autism, 12, 403–414.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mouridsen, S. E., Rich, B., & Isager, T. (1999). Epilepsy in disintegrative psychosis and infantile autism: A long-term validation study. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 41, 110–114.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mouridsen, S. E., Rich, B., & Isager, T. (2011a). A longitudinal study of epilepsy and other central nervous system disease in individuals with and without a history of infantile autism. Brain and Development, 33, 361–366.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mouridsen, S. E., Rich, B., & Isager, T. (2011b). Epilepsy and other central nervous system diseases in atypical autism: A case control study. Journal of Neural Transmission, 118, 621–627.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Peake, D., Notghi, L. M., & Philip, S. (2006). Management of epilepsy in children with autism. Current Paediatrics, 16, 489–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pedersen, C. B., Gøtzsche, H., Møller, J. Ø., & Mortensen, P. B. (2006). The Danish Civil Registration System. Danish Medical Bulletin, 53, 441–449.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Pickett, J., Xiu, E., Tuchman, R., Dawson, G., & Lajonchere, C. (2011). Mortality in individuals with autism, with and without epilepsy. Journal of Child Neurology, 8, 932–939.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sørensen, H. T., Sabroe, S., & Olsen, J. (1996). A framework for evaluation of secondary data sources for epidemiological research. International Journal of Epidemiology, 25, 435–442.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Steffenburg, U., Hagberg, G., & Hagberg, B. (2001). Epilepsy in a representative series of Rett syndrome. Acta Paediatrica, 90, 34–39.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Tuchman, R., Cuccaro, M., & Alessandri, M. (2010). Autism and epilepsy: Historical perspective. Brain and Development, 32, 709–718.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tuchman, R., & Rapin, I. (2002). Epilepsy in autism. Lancet Neurology, 1, 352–358.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wing, L. (1981). Asperger’s syndrome. A clinical account. Psychological Medicine, 11, 115–129.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. World Health Organization. (1971). International classification of diseases, Danish version (8th ed.). Copenhagen: Sundhedsstyrelsen (National Board of Health).Google Scholar
  28. World Health Organization. (1992). The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders. Clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Svend Erik Mouridsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bente Rich
    • 2
  • Torben Isager
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Child and Adolescent PsychiatryBispebjerg University HospitalCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.RoskildeDenmark
  3. 3.Centre for Child and Adolescent PsychiatryGlostrup University HospitalGlostrupDenmark

Personalised recommendations