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Autism Clusters in California

Scientists in California have identified areas where children are almost twice as likely to have autism, with these children mostly having highly educated parents. This could be because of better access to medical experts that can diagnose the disorder.

Researchers at the University of California at Davis say that there are no localized sources of pollution near these clusters. The clusters that researchers have identified are:

  1. The Laguna Beach/Mission Viejo area of Orange County

  2. The La Jolla/Del Mar area of San Diego County

  3. San Francisco

  4. The Sunnyvale/Santa Clara area

  5. The Redwood City area

  6. Fresno

Two other possible clusters were also found in the Norwalk/Cerritos area of Los Angeles County and the Modesto area.

Researchers have found that environmental exposures could be the cause of these clusters. However, Bernard Weiss, a professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester, says this research “confirms an association between parental education and autism risk.”

The study also found a link between autism and the age of parents, but this correlation was weaker than the link to education.

Ultimately, researchers aim to look for localized sources of exposure to explain the cause for these clusters. However, these clusters seem to be more associated with parental education.


Sanjana is a junior in high school who is passionate about raising awareness about developmental disabilities and neurological disorders. This interest developed from neuroscience research she’s conducted and she wants to share information with the community.

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