Autism rates among children in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas tripled between 2000 and 2016, according to published research. [January 26] in the journal Pediatrics.
According to researchers at Rutgers University, advances in diagnostic capabilities and better understanding and awareness of autism spectrum disorders appear to be a major driver of this increase. But there’s probably more to the story. Genetic factors, and perhaps some environmental factors, may also have contributed to the trend.
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Much of the risk of developing autism (approximately 83% according to one analysis) is due to genetic factors. [Santhosh] Girirajan estimates that 2,000 to 3,000 genes contribute to autism, but only 100 genes are consistently associated with autism.
Children may inherit risk factors from one or both parents, and older parents are at higher risk of having a child with autism.
Jennifer Durocher, a clinical associate professor of psychology at the University of Miami, said, “Parents waiting to have children show trends over time. So part of the increase is explained by the age of the parents. It’s certainly possible.
Girirajan said environmental factors, such as exposure to air pollution, are probably not important factors, but they can exacerbate potential genetic risks.
This is an excerpt.Full article here