Early life epileptic seizures have been linked to autism and other disorders, but precisely why this relationship exists is not entirely clear. What has been known for some time is that there are critical periods in the development of the young brain and seizures can disrupt this, leading to learning and cognition issues. Now, Frances Jensen, a Professor of Neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine in the US has shown that seizures may trigger brain synapses to switch on prematurely thus altering the child’s development. Importantly, the study shows that an existing targeted therapy (an antiepileptic drug) may keep those synapses “silent” after seizures to allow the brain to develop normally during a critical time in a person’s life. If this is the case, these findings suggest that targeted therapies to block the activation of the ‘switch’ until such time that the brain has developed sufficiently, could allow the brain to develop normally. You can read more about the research here