Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Clinic Notes: Sex Differences in Etiological Predictors of Autism

Recently, we presented the results of some of our research at The American Psychological Society meeting in Boston. In several studies we have noted that the causes of autism are different for males and females. It is established that males are 4 to 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism so differences in predictors is not surprising. In our survey of 1806 biological mother of children diagnosed with autism and normally developing children we found that being an older mothers, birth complications, living 20 miles from power lines, and eating fish during the first trimester predicted autism in both males and females. Not having meat aversions predicted autism in males but not females. Mothers smoking during pregnancy was a predictor of autism in females but not males. Baron-Cohen suggests that autism is an evolutionary exaggeration of the male brain