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When Geeks Meet, Are They More Likely To Have Autistic Kids? 327

An anonymous reader writes "Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen thinks scientists and engineers could be more likely to have a child with autism, an idea that is fairly common currency in Silicon Valley. But many researchers say the proof isn't there yet. From the article: 'Baron-Cohen proposes that systemizing ability can be inherited — and that in information-technology (IT) enclaves such as Silicon Valley, where hypersystemizers are more likely to meet, pair off and have children, the result is a higher incidence of autism. Back in 1997, for example, he concluded that fathers of children with autism were more than twice as likely to be engineers as were fathers of non-autistic children. But autism researchers ... found that fathers of children with autism were more likely to work in medicine, science and accountancy, as well as engineering, and less likely to have manual occupations. They suggested that these fathers were simply more likely to have reached a higher level of education. Baron-Cohen says that when he reanalysed the data and controlled for education level, he found that fathers of children with autism were still more likely to be engineers, although the difference was smaller.'"

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