Autism More Common Near Tech Hubs
Autism appears to be more prevalent in regions like Silicon Valley that have a large number of workers in the information technology sector, new research indicates.
In a study just published online in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, researchers looked at the number of schoolchildren diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in three different cities in The Netherlands.
They found that autism was two to four times more prevalent in the region with lots of technology jobs as compared to the two cities without, even though all three areas are of similar size and socioeconomic makeup.
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“These results are in line with the idea that in regions where parents gravitate towards jobs that involve strong ‘systemizing,’ such as the IT sector, there will be a higher rate of autism among their children because the genes for autism may be expressed in first degree relatives as a talent in systemizing,” said Simon Baron-Cohen of University of Cambridge who led the study.
Previous research by Baron-Cohen and his colleagues has shown evidence that autism is common among children whose fathers or grandfathers work as engineers. In addition, the developmental disorder is often found in siblings of mathematicians, they say.