Some studies suggest up to 25 percent of children with autism also have a seizure disorder, according to Dr. Marcie Hall, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
"In neurologically-normal children with epilepsy, the risk of death is actually no different than for children without seizures," said Dr. Shlomo Shinnar, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Management Center at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Seizures statistically become more deadly when combined with neurological conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy or mental retardation.
Travolta testified at the trial that began Sept. 21 for the two defendants - a paramedic and former Bahamas senator - who allegedly tried to blackmail Travolta with private information following the death of his chronically ill son, Jett.
The actor is among the 14-person list of potential witnesses in the case before the New Providence Supreme Court where a nine-member jury was empanelled Monday.
The actor's last minutes with his son were described by Tarino Lightbourne, the paramedic who drove them to the hospital and was later accused in the extortion plot.
"It was me, him and Jett," Lightbourne told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Jan. 5. "I'll never forget this day. I saw him lean over and hug his son and kiss his son and tell him he loved him and I did everything I could. I saw love in his eyes, I saw love. [Travolta] hugged him, put his arm around him, kissed him on the forehead and the cheek and told him he loved him. He then turned to me and gave me a hug and said, 'You guys did a wonderful job.'"
Within weeks, authorities arrested the man who provided that touching description. Lightbourne was charged with attempted extortion and conspiracy to extort.
Bahamas Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater was also arrested and charged with conspiracy to extort.
Each has pleaded not guilty and is free on bail. Bridgewater later resigned from her office.
The extortion charges involve the pair's alleged plan to release a document if Travolta and his wife, actress Kelly Preston, did not pay them $25 million.
The paperwork they allegedly threatened to release is a "refusal to transport," which someone would sign when refusing emergency medical services, thereby releasing first responders from liability.
But police said no such document was ever signed in this case.
A police officer testified Tuesday that Travolta signed the release because he initially wanted his son taken to the airport instead of the hospital.
Outside the courthouse on Monday, Bridgewater's attorney told APTV that without Travolta, there is no case.
"He has to be here, he has to come and give evidence," said Murrio Ducille. "Without him, the prosecution cannot get off the ground, because he is the complainant."
Lighthourne's defense attorneys have asked the court to order the prosecution to turn over documents, including the autopsy report, the statement from Travolta's nanny and phone records, which they say they have not yet received, despite repeated written requests.
Defense counsel Carlson Shurland had already expressed his concerns about the fairness of his client's trial, earlier in the year.