Highly educated parents are more likely to have autistic kids, finds a new study.
While analysing data on about 2.5 million births in California in a five-year period, researchers identified 10 autism clusters, or geographical areas in which there was a higher than usual incidence of children diagnosed with the neurodevelopmental disability that's marked by impaired social and communication skills, and repetitive behaviors.
Lead researcher Dr. Karla Van Meter examined the prevalence of autism inside these education level clusters against the areas just outside and the difference in the rate of autism cases was nearly double in some places.
Although she doesn't rule out other possible causes for the autism clusters, she does strongly favour education as a risk factor for autism.
"There's sort of a steady increase through the four levels of education," Discovery News quoted Van Meter as saying.
"That looks a little weird when you view it through chemical exposure as an explanation," she added.
Van Meter said explaining why high levels of education is a risk factor in autism is a difficult proposition. She stresses that the study results show a correlation, not causation.