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Earlier this week, I wrote a story about an autism cluster in the northwestern part of San Diego where kids are twice as likely to be diagnosed with autism as in the rest of the region.

Researchers pinpointed nine other autism clusters in California, all in areas with well-educated populations. (You can see a map of them in this PDF.)

One possible explanation is that parents with more education are more likely to be aware of autism and seek help for their children who may have it. And, of course, they probably have money to pay for care. (Researchers didn’t look at wealth, however.)

A commenter raises an interesting question: Maybe the autism clusters are linked to the ages of the parents. If they’re older when they have kids, the thinking goes, they’ll produce more offspring with autism. Latinos appear to have much lower rates of autism diagnoses, perhaps that’s because Latino parents are younger.

I’m going to call the main researcher again to ask whether this theory makes sense. Do you have any questions about autism clusters that you’d like me to bring up? Drop me a line.


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