Subject: Re: Scientists baffled by increase in autism
Organization: The Satyrikon
User-Agent: Gnus/5.0808 (Gnus v5.8.8) Emacs/20.7
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 08:48:53 EDT
Date: 20 Oct 2002 09:15:26 -0400
Some researchers suspect the answer to the rise in autism is easily
explained: breeding. Highly functional autistics are nothing new, but
in the past, they usually ended up in monasteries, or their functional
equivalents, academia. In our modern society, these kind of folks
often end up in the tech sector, and as high tech has become lucrative
and sexy, so have they. Now that they are reproducing, sometimes, due
to increased mobility, even mating with those who share some of their
autistic tendencies, the highly functional autistics are producing
It's still early days yet, but this seems to be the most promising
firstname.lastname@example.org (Pontifex Maximus) writes:
> Scientists baffled by increase in autism
> By Andrew Johnson
> 20 October 2002
> The dramatic increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism
> over the last five years could be due to environmental factors, a new
> study suggests.
> Researchers from the University of California found that a 287 per cent
> rise in the condition there could not be explained by increased aware-
> ness or better methods of diagnosis, as first suspected.
> Instead, scientists believe children may be born with a genetic
> predisposition to autism which is triggered by an unknown external
> factor. Autism affects a person's ability to communicate and form
> relationships with other people or to relate to the world.
> Dr Fiona Scott of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University
> said that in this country rates had increased from four in 10,000 five
> years ago to around one in 100 now. "The California study is the first to
> look at questions of misdiagnosis, migration or increased awareness
> as explanations for the rise," Dr Scott said. "Some scientists are now
> thinking that we could be born with a genetic susceptibility that can be
> triggered. Nobody knows what that trigger could be." She added: "We
> need to get a clearer picture of what is going on because we don't know
> for sure what the rates of autism are."
> Dr Robert Byrd, of the University of California, who led the research,
> said: "Autism is on the rise and we do not know why. The results of this
> study are sobering."
> The study will now be replicated with a much larger sample size.