A high incidence of autism in Silicon Valley could be down to the 'computer geek' genes of its workers.
More than one in 150 children in the area have some sort of autistic disorder, a figure that is much higher than in the rest of the US.
The numbers of autistic children attending treatment centres in California between 1987 and 1998 rose by 273 per cent.
Some scientists have put it down to better diagnosis but, according to a BBC report, experts at the Mind Institute in Sacramento believe that hi-tech workers in the area may be carrying genes which contribute to the condition.
The theory is that 'computer geek' men are more likely to meet partners who also carry autistic genes.
This is backed up in the UK, where areas that attract hi-tech workers also suffer from unusually high levels of child autism.
Recent surveys of primary schools in the Cambridge area found similar rates to those reported in Silicon Valley, the BBC said.
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