Mortality in individuals with autism, with and without epilepsy

Jane Pickett, Ellen Xiu, Roberto Tuchman, Geraldine Dawson, Clara Lajonchere

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Previous studies show higher mortality rates among individuals with autism than the general population. Comorbidity with epilepsy is an assumed, often ill-defined factor in the increased mortality rates of individuals with autism. Data from the Autism Tissue Program, a tissue donation program established to support biomedical research on autism, show that approximately one-third of its brain donors with autism also had epilepsy. Analysis of new data from the California State Department of Developmental Services is consistent with past reports showing that there is a higher than expected rate of mortality in individuals with autism and epilepsy than autism alone. Accurate, complete and accessible records on cause of death are necessary not just for brain research, but also for understanding risk factors that contribute to early death in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Various national health care and state developmental disability agency initiatives to reduce risk of mortality are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)932-939
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of child neurology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011


  • autism
  • comorbidity
  • epilepsy
  • mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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