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Brief Report: Prevalence of Co-occurring Epilepsy and Autism Spectrum Disorder: The U.S. National Survey of Children’s Health 2011–2012


Epilepsy is reported to co-occur in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Previous studies across the world have found prevalence estimates ranging from 4 to 38 %. We examined parent-reported prevalence of co-occurring epilepsy and ASD in the most recent U.S. National Survey of Children’s Health, 2011–2012. All analyses accounted for survey weights to account for the complex sampling design. In the overall analytic sample of 85,248 children ages 2–17, there were 1604 children with ASD (prevalence of 1.8 %) and 1083 children with epilepsy (prevalence of 1.2 %). Epilepsy was reported to co-occur in 8.6 % of ASD cases. In children with ASD, the co-occurrence of epilepsy was associated with increasing child age, female gender, intellectual disability, speech problems and lower socioeconomic status.

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Author Contributions

ST and BL participated in study conception and design; Acquisition of data: Analysis and interpretation of data: Drafting of manuscript: Critical revision. DR and MH participated in: Analysis and interpretation of data: Drafting of manuscript: Critical revision.

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Correspondence to Brian K. Lee.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The National Survey of Children’s Health study protocol was approved by the National Center for Health Statistics Research Ethics Review Board and the Abt Associates Institutional Review Board.

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Thomas, S., Hovinga, M.E., Rai, D. et al. Brief Report: Prevalence of Co-occurring Epilepsy and Autism Spectrum Disorder: The U.S. National Survey of Children’s Health 2011–2012. J Autism Dev Disord 47, 224–229 (2017).

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  • Autism
  • Epilepsy
  • Comorbid
  • Epidemiology