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: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 11:35:48 EDT
Date: 23 Oct 2002 12:02:41 -0400
> "Satyr" wrote in message
> > "Vexen" writes:
> > > "Satyr" wrote in message
> > In the article, it was noted that this epidemic has first come to
> > light in Silicon Valley, precisely where one would expect.
> > as part of the testing procedure, after a child was diagnosed the
> > parents were tested as well. The clinicians were surprised to find
> > that often one or both parents also displayed autistic traits.
> Ponder... has silicon valley become what it is *because* the area has
> a high occurance of autism (which then became a self-fuelled cycle as
> the autistic type became selected for), or has the computer industry
> and lifestyle (as per the theory you outlined) stimulated the success
> of autistic families?
> I do not know that there have been enough generations passed for the
> latter to be true, but I don't really know the history of silicon
At a guess, I would say a little of both. Asperger's syndrome brings
with it certain advantages that are very useful in such pursuits as
computer programming. As the high tech industry grew in Silicon
Valley, it naturally attracted those that were very good at things
like programming, and so the theory goes, a significant proportion of
those programmers `suffered' from the syndrome. If indeed there is a
genetic component involved, and I'm not sure that has been definitely
proven at this point, then as these highly successful and well paid
individuals reproduced, there was an increased probability they would
in turn have offspring that also suffered from a pervasive
Fifty years ago, many families had an Uncle George, who never married,
due to his deplorable social skills, and was more than a little odd:
brilliant at maths, but not good for much else. Today, given the right
circumstances, Uncle George may be pulling down a six-figure income,
if his talent has been recognized and exploited by some computer firm.
Large wads of cash are very conducive to attracting a mate, so there's
a much greater chance of there being a George Jr, whom everyone agrees
is just like his father.