Food and Behaviour Research

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7 March 2011 - BBC Radio 4 - Steep Rise in Autism

Tom Feilden

New research has discovered high incidences of autism in Silicon Valley and Cambridge in the UK, sometimes known as Silicon Fen

Little is known about what causes the condition although genetic and environmental factors like the MMR jab and poor diet have been implicated. A paper published by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen from Cambridge University in the June 2002 issue of Trends in Cognitive Sciences suggests that something called "male brain syndrome" could play a significant part. 

Professor Baron Cohen suggests that men who are drawn to work in areas like computing may be carrying a larger than normal number of the genes which cause autism. If they have children with a partner carrying a coincidentally high proportion of these genes it may increase the likelihood of them having a child with autism.