Lack of effects of vagus nerve stimulation on drug-resistant epilepsy in eight pediatric patients with autism spectrum disorders: A prospective 2-year follow-up study
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy has been reported to reduce seizure frequency in some children with drug-resistant epilepsy who are not suitable candidates for epilepsy surgery. It has been suggested that there may be positive cognitive and/or behavioral effects independent of seizure control. We describe the effects of VNS with respect to seizure frequency, cognition, and autistic symptoms and behavior in eight children and adolescents with medically intractable epilepsy and autism. In comparison to baseline, seizure frequency had not decreased in anyone in our series at the 2-year follow-up. In three cases, minor improvements in general functioning were noted, but there were no positive cognitive effects. This open prospective pilot study highlights the need for more prospective studies to prevent false expectations of improvement in this severely disabled group.