Sleep affects epilepsy and epilepsy affects sleep.(5) Certain types of clinical seizure (as well as interictal discharges) occur mainly, and sometimes exclusively, during sleep. Examples include mesial frontal seizures, benign centrotemporal (Rolandic) epilepsy of childhood, and tonic seizures in the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in people with mental retardation (learning disability). Electrical status epilepticus during slow-wave sleep is associated with psychological deterioration. The short-lasting form of nocturnal paroxysmal dystonia is now increasingly recognized as a form of frontal-lobe epilepsy. The distinction between nocturnal seizures and other parasomnias (Chapter 4.14.4) is important because of their different significance and management requirements.
In turn, high rates of sleep disturbance have been reported in both adults and children with epilepsy. Depending on the type of epilepsy, this may be the result of disruption of sleep by seizures or interictal discharges, antiepileptic medication, or the various neurological disorders that can be associated with having seizures.
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Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.