A new study adds a twist to the pronounced ways that autism affects women and men differently. While men are four times more likely to develop autism than women, when women develop autism they are more likely to also have seizures that don’t respond to epilepsy medications. Epilepsy, which affects up to a third of all people with autism, involves recurrent seizures that may or may not be obvious to observers.
The new research, led by neuroscientist Karen Blackmon, of New York University Medical Center, investigated a previously noted difference between autism’s 4-to-1 male/female ratio and the tighter 3-to-1 male/female ratio for autism with epilepsy. “This suggests that whatever protects women from autism does not shield them from epilepsy,” Dr. Blackmon says.
Thanks to Autism Speaks for committing its resources to publishing the article; Dr. Karen Blackman for leading the study; Google for helping me find the article; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible to include the picture and text in this post.