Information from a new study published in the Sept. 6 issue of Science details how epilepsy and autism are linked in young people. The research was conducted by scientists at the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) and Yale University schools of medicine, who have discovered a type of autism (that is currently linked to epilepsy) that may be treatable with a nutritional supplement instead of harsh epilepsy treatments like Topamax.

The study is showing that at least one-quarter of autistic patients also have epilepsy. Researchers used exome sequencing as a means of locating a gene mutation that some autistic patients possess that speeds up specific amino acids in the patient’s metabolisms. Those mutations are affected by seizures.

“The discovery may help physicians diagnose this particular form of autism earlier and treat sooner. The researchers focused on a specific type of amino acid known as branched chain amino acids,” it was pointed out in the report.

Scientists long have suspected a link between epilepsy and autism, but researchers have been trying to figure out exactly why young people who are afflicted with either of the conditions become more likely to end up with the other condition at a later time in their lives.

“It was very surprising to find mutations in a potentially treatable metabolic pathway specific for autism,” said senior author of the report, Dr. Joseph Gleeson, professor in the UCSD Department of Neurosciences and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “What was most exciting was that the potential treatment is obvious and simple: Just give affected patients the naturally-occurring amino acids their bodies lack.”

Various medications are currently used to treat epilepsy. One of those treatments is Topamax, which is an anti-seizure medication. Topamax has been linked to birth defects in babies born to mothers that use the drug while pregnant. Some of those birth defects include PPHN, oral clefts, neural tube defects and spina bifida.

If your baby was born with birth defects after in-utero exposure to Topamax, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Topamax lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your child’s injuries.