Autism more common in IT-rich region

Washington: There will be a higher rate of autism among their children whose parents gravitate towards jobs that involve strong ‘systemizing’, such as the IT sector, a new study from Cambridge University has found.

The study has important implications for service provision in different regions and for the ‘hyper-systemizing’ theory of autism.

The researchers predicted that autism spectrum conditions (ASC) would be more common in populations enriched for ‘systemizing’, which is the drive to analyse how systems work, and to predict, control and build systems.

The researchers tested for differences in the prevalence of ASC in school-aged children in three geographical regions in the Netherlands: Eindhoven, Haarlem, and Utrecht-city. The region Eindhoven was selected because it is rich in information-technology (IT).

They found school-reported prevalence estimates of ASC in Eindhoven were 229 per 10,000, significantly higher than in Haarlem (84 per 10,000) and Utrecht (57 per 10,000), whilst the prevalence for the control conditions was similar in all regions.

The study was published recently in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.


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