10 Autism Clusters are Revealed by Study


According to a new study, there are 10 locations in California that U.S researchers have identified to have double the rates of autism, when compared to their surrounding areas. Interestingly enough, one characteristic of these autism concentrated areas is that the residents are primarily composed of highly educated individuals. Other characteristics include a primarily Caucasian residency.

Researchers from the University of California Davis completed the study. Their goal for the study was to locate “pockets” of autism. The idea was to find a common denominator that may give insight to what environmental factors may be triggering what many believe to be a neurological disorder. Still, industry professionals continue to battle over the exact diagnosis figures; some say 1 in 91, some say 1 in 100 and some say 1 in 110 (as stated on the Center for Disease Control website). One thing that they can all agree on is that the numbers have, unfortunately, far exceeded predictions.

According to a recent news report, researcher Irva Hertz-Picciotto of UC Davis’ MIND Institute said that this speaks less to the causes of autism and more to lacking in the the U.S. healthcare system. Hertz-Picciotto’s full comments will be available to read this Wednesday in the journal Autism Research.

For this study, the researchers viewed approximately 2.5 million births that were recorded in California from 1996 through 2000. According to the state’s department of developmental services, approximately 10,000 of those children were later diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Hertz-Picciotto told a reporter, "We already know that people with a higher education in the United States are more likely to get a diagnosis of autism for their child. It doesn’t necessarily mean that autism occurs more frequently in those families."

Personally, I am interested to see such a study completed in the New York area. This is especially so if indeed education were considered to be a significant factor. My reasoning is as follows. The fast-paced, high pressure, businesses that are found in New York City require the crème de la crème. Higher expectations are placed on professionals and, typically, most individuals have at least a Bachelors Degree, if not a Masters or PhD. 

Joshua Weinstein, Ph.D., M.B.A. is the Founder and President of Shema KolainuHear Our Voices, School and Center for Children with Autism. This specific autism school and center serves approximately 60 children and nearly 1,000 from around the New York City area. When asked if the school is a part of any similar research, Dr. Weinstein told me that “The school monitors all students and our research is going into the iCAP project.”

The ICAP project is currently in construction by the International Center for Autism Research and www.icare4autism.org (ICare4Autism). The online autism database will serve as the connecter between researchers from around the globe. Studies, findings and notes will be able to be reviewed, compared and connected upon. The ICAP project is expected to completely overhaul the field of autism research by paving the path from research isolation to research collaboration.




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