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Autism Speaks responds to recent publications citing autism clusters in California
Date:1/22/2010

potential bias caused by parents moving to neighborhoods that improve access to specialty autism services.

"Our paper is different," Columbia University co-author Peter Bearman, Ph.D. said. "It identifies a large and stable primary cluster for autism based on residence at birth that is observed over many years and which crosses over regional center boundaries."

The primary cluster accounted for approximately 3 percent of new autism cases in California each year from 1993-2000. While the primary cluster was found to be in an area of higher socioeconomic status than comparison regions, this factor did not fully account for the increased cases of autism in this region.

"Our findings point strongly to the idea that a local process is associated with the increased risk of autism. Such a local process could be either an environmental factor or a social influence factor, or both," noted Bearman.

Both publications add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that the distribution of autism cases differs across different regions. While the exact causes of the clustering in California are unknown, ongoing studies exploring environmental exposures and social factors will be useful in providing answers.


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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert  

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Autism Speaks responds to recent publications citing autism clusters in California
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