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Could Assortative Mating Explain Autism?

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the and-nerd-begot-nerd dept.

Medicine 286

clm1970 writes "Researcher Simon Baron-Cohen has put forth the theory that 'how we mate and marry' could explain the increase in rates of Autism Spectrum Disorders, particularly Asperger's. When two technically minded people marry and have children, so the provocative theory goes, they are more apt to produce a child who crosses the line into mild autism."

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286 comments

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but... (2, Funny)

jaf0 (1689558) | more than 3 years ago | (#37195846)

isn't one of the major tenets of geekdom the inability to attract the opposite sex?

Re:but... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37195968)

To break the slashdot-ism: if that were the case the first generation of geeks would never have had *any* offspring. Geeks take to coupling just like everything else they do, they either stumble at it, or become avid-amateurs until they succeed.

Re:but... (-1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196004)

Well.. they did, and slashdot was born , my theory is, android users should mate apple users, that would avoid , autist and gay people.

Re:but... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196086)

Yeah, but since mac fanboi's are faggots they can't reproduce.

Re:but... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196538)

That's working under the assumption that autistics and homosexuals have no value to society, and should be eradicated. I don't think that is the case.

Re:but... (3, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196588)

That's working under the assumption that autistics and homosexuals have no value to society, and should be eradicated. I don't think that is the case.

Of course you're right.

Whereas, Apple fanboys...

well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196008)

if you have ENOUGH geeks just sitting around, something's BOUND to happen. Even by accident.

Probability, man.

Re:well... (3, Funny)

seven of five (578993) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196442)

if you have ENOUGH geeks just sitting around, something's BOUND to happen. Even by accident. Probability, man.

Quantum tunnelling?

Re:well... (4, Funny)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#37197022)

Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Re:but... (2)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196022)

Shhhh.. You're ruining the fascination created by the article. Direct quote from it: "The theory is still largely speculation, shored up by seductive anecdotes"

I kid you not.

Kid. Ha. I made a funny.

Re:but... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196560)

But isn't the plural of anecdote data?

Re:but... (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196954)

Shhhh.. You're ruining the fascination created by the article. Direct quote from it: "The theory is still largely speculation, shored up by seductive anecdotes"

Seductive anecdotes?

Dear Penthouse Forum,
I wish to provide your esteemed publication with further data points on the "Once you go black" hypothesis....

Re:but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196224)

Hmm, I don't think that tenet of geekdom so much as a tenet of poverty or never rising above the role of stooge, lick-spittle or lackey.

Now, sure that covers lots of geeks, but Alpha Geeks do just as well as any other Alphas.

To put it another way Buckaroo Banzai and Seth Brundle get all kinds of trim.

Heck, even the original geek,The Man Who Laughs [wordpress.com] , got some interest from Duchess Josiana. [blogspot.com]

Re:but... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196310)

That's only true during high school and college, strangely enough when the 6 digit salary starts rolling in your average geeks attractiveness coefficient increases by 2 orders of magnitude.....

Obviously I'm not suggesting correlation implies causation but never the less.

Re:but... (3, Insightful)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196554)

That's only true during high school and college, strangely enough when the 6 digit salary starts rolling in your average geeks attractiveness coefficient increases by 2 orders of magnitude.....

Obviously I'm not suggesting correlation implies causation but never the less.

To be honest, I think at some point geeks are put in a situation where they want to become social around that salary level. They enter the work force with jobs that accept them for who they are and a sort of Peterson Principle thing happens when they get promoted to senior guy. Their incompetent at the interfacing and mentoring thing, except they actually want to do them since they actually respect the more technical project managers, and care about showing the young-ins the ropes, so they learn to be competent at them. As a side effect of this, and also being older and more confidant because they care less about being awkward. As a nice side effect of all this, the ladies that are initially attracted to geeks for their money find their personalities worth sticking around for.

Re:but... (2)

kyrsjo (2420192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196862)

I dunno how it is in your corner of the world, but in mine there are geeks of both sexes... And as the summary says, similar people are often attracted to each other :)

Re:but... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196880)

That became less true when geeks started to make serious money, but it's still an issue, yes.

yeah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37195874)

first

According to this article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37195904)

Sacha Baron Cohen (yes, the comedian) does "prolific work".

Publicity whore for a "scientist" (5, Interesting)

x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) | more than 3 years ago | (#37195920)

FTFA

The theory of "assortative mating" was first put forth by neuroscientist Simon Baron-Cohen, a leading autism researcher and something of a rock star in the field. He's the first cousin of comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, and like his cousin, his prolific work tends toward the out-of-the-box. Combine that with his outspokenness — uncommon for a scientist — and it's clear why at a recent international conference in San Diego, he was "frequently mobbed by fellow attendees and treated with near universal adulation," Warner writes.

I don't have proof but this guy looks and sounds like he's just putting for a controversial theory to be controversial and get his name in the papers. I wouldn't give much credit here.

Re:Publicity whore for a "scientist" (5, Interesting)

TobiasTheCommie (768719) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196214)

Simon Baron-Cohen has made many a theory on the etiology of Autism. And all of them have fallen by the way side.

I don't understand why he is regarded as a scientist since he keep coming out with these stupid ideas.

A few years ago it was a "Too neanderthal brain". Then a few years later it was "Too much male hormone in the uterus". And now it is is this. *sigh*

He comes up with one idea, and once that is shown to be false, he just throws a new one out there.

As a professional in this area. And as someone with autism. I totally disregard anything and everything he has to say.

Re:Publicity whore for a "scientist" (1)

jombeewoof (1107009) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196376)

what is your take on the idea that vitamin D deficiency plays a part in autism spectrum disorders?
I recently read a fairly convincing article on the subject, but don't know anyone smart enough to discuss it with.

Re:Publicity whore for a "scientist" (1)

TobiasTheCommie (768719) | more than 3 years ago | (#37197008)

I hadn't hear that hypothesis.

A cursory glance at pubmed.gov shows that people with autism generally have less vitamin D than people without.

But it isn't apparent if the autism is caused by the lack of vitamin D. Or if the lack of vitamin D is an effect of people having autism eating less varied meals.

There appears to be no difference in how much vitamin D the mother has in whether or not the child has autism

Here is the data i looked at for reference:

7. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jun;16(6):641-5.

Reduced serum levels of 25-hydroxy and 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D in Egyptian
children with autism.

Meguid NA, Hashish AF, Anwar M, Sidhom G.

Department of Research on Children with Special Needs, National Research Centre,
Cairo, Egypt.
[ snip ]
CONCLUSIONS: Serum values of 25(OH)D in the children with autism of this study
could classify them as being "vitamin D inadequate," which lends support to the
hypothesis that autism is a vitamin D deficiency disorder.

1. J Autism Dev Disord. 2011 May 10. [Epub ahead of print]

Food Variety as a Predictor of Nutritional Status Among Children with Autism.

Zimmer MH, Hart LC, Manning-Courtney P, Murray DS, Bing NM, Summer S.

Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics MLC 4002, Cincinnati
Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3430 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH, 45220,
USA, michelle.zimmer@cchmc.org.

The frequency of selective eating and nutritional deficiency was studied among 22
children with autism and an age matched typically developing control group.
Children with autism ate fewer foods on average than typically developing
children. (33.5 vs. 54.5 foods, P less than .001) As compared to typical controls,
children with autism had a higher average intake of magnesium, and lower average
intake of protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. Selective eaters were
significantly more likely than typical controls to be at risk for at least one
serious nutrient deficiency (P less than .001).

12. Acta Paediatr. 2010 May;99(5):743-7. Epub 2010 Mar 5.

Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in mothers of Swedish and of Somali origin
who have children with and without autism.

Fernell E, Barnevik-Olsson M, Bågenholm G, Gillberg C, Gustafsson S, Sääf M.

Autism Centre for Young Children, Handicap and Habilitation, Stockholm, Sweden.
elisabeth.fernell@karolinska.se
[snip]
RESULTS: Between 12 and 17 mothers from the different groups accepted to
participate, both groups of mothers of Somali origin had significantly lower
values of 25-hydroxyvitamin D compared with Swedish mothers. The difference of
25-hydroxyvitamin D between mothers of Somali origin with and without a child
with autism was not significant.

Re:Publicity whore for a "scientist" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196394)

He comes up with one idea, and once that is shown to be false, he just throws a new one out there.

So what you saying is first he comes up with a hypothesis, then if it's shown to be false he comes up with a new one?

What a monster!

Re:Publicity whore for a "scientist" (2)

TobiasTheCommie (768719) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196818)

I agree for there to be science you have to come up with a lot of hypothesis.
Some of these will be promoted to theories.
Some of these will not be falsified.

So just because you'r hypothesis/theory fails at one of these points, it doesn't mean that you aren't a scientist, or you shouldn't be allowed to come up with something new. Of course not.

There are people who claim that watching to much TV causes autism. Or mothers not showing enough emotion cause autism. Or vaccinations cause autism. (All of these are false btw)

So, if one person keeps coming up with bad ideas, at some point he should sit down and say to himself. "Ok, before i start pushing this to the media, etc. i'm going to see if i can falsify this... etc."

At some point enough is enough. I don't see him as being much better than Wakefield(He is better in that he hasn't consciously and on purpose falsified data to earn money, which Wakefield did. But his theories are no better).

A lot of people are doing real research into what causes autism. And what Simon Baron-Cohen is doing has (thus far) not been even close to useful.

Simon Baron-Cohen (And the people who go all crazy with vaccinations) are distracting and removing resources from the areas where real work is being done.

I stand by what i said, as referring specifically to Simon Baron-Cohen. Not to scientist in general.

Re:Publicity whore for a "scientist" (2)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196982)

Yeah, that's how I read it too. I get pissed off when scientific ideas, even improbable ones, get dismissed though an ad hominem attack on the scientist. Either we're talking about evidence and so science, or we're just reading the tabloids. The distinction should remain clear.

Re:Publicity whore for a "scientist" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196440)

So he can only be regarded as a scientist if he puts forth ideas that check out. I don't think you understand how science works (Observe, theorize, test, repeat.) His contribution so far: We know some things that do not cause autism and we have more things to test.

Re:Publicity whore for a "scientist" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196490)

Where are them mod points today?

Re:Publicity whore for a "scientist" (3, Informative)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196886)

I see your point, but the counter is that a scientist puts forth ideas with some merit and actually tests them. If you just toss ideas out into the world, you're not a scientist, you're a philosopher. If you just toss ideas out into the world without any regard to reasonableness, you're a crackpot or a crank. For example, if you postulate that long ago some powerful being threw a bunch of people into volcanoes and that those souls or whatever now plague mankind and are responsible for every bad thing that happens to you, you are not a scientist.

Re:Publicity whore for a "scientist" (2)

samkass (174571) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196534)

Besides, other *actual* research seems to contradict his theory. Siblings have a 25% greater chance of having autism than unrelated people if one is diagnosed, and identical twins have 50% greater... but fraternal twins have a 33% greater chance. That's pretty much a dead ringer proof that it is a mix of both genetics and environment-- otherwise fraternal twins would have exactly the same chance as non-twin siblings.

Re:Publicity whore for a "scientist" (2)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196594)

Siblings have a 25% greater chance ... fraternal twins have a 33% greater chance. That's pretty much a dead ringer proof that it is a mix of both genetics and environment

Not proof... it could also have to do with the environment of the sperm, which might change in the months or years between non-twin siblings.

Re:Publicity whore for a "scientist" (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196244)

For proof, you could check out any other news article with him in it.

So (4, Insightful)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#37195924)

So we should cause cheerleaders to date nerds, and football players fangirls? Maybe no one who can name all eleven doctors should be allowed to marry at all, but rather should be put full time to impregnating Olympic athletes?

I like the idea that Aspergers is associated directly with intelligence. I also like the whorish way that the paper's author plays with the concept of eugenics to get more hits.

I also like the way that the author tries to ignore environmental conditions such as increased urbanization and subsequent hyper-socialization.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196036)

I also like the way that the author tries to ignore environmental conditions such as increased urbanization and subsequent hyper-socialization.

Bingo. ADD and Asperger's are nothing but labels which medicalize one of two things:

- Either the justification of rotten childhood behavior resulting from being spoiled rotten with no discipline, or

- An excuse for parents, who are too busy reliving their own youth through mid-life crises to actually do some damn parenting, to keep their kids in overmedicated stupors.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:So (2)

tloh (451585) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196710)

My nephew started exhibiting traits consistent with being on the autism spectrum at around 3/4 years of age. He has siblings and cousins who were raised together and are not autistic. His parents are competent, dedicated, and hard-working folks who do not deserve your criticism. These days, the autism diagnosis can be made considerably before bad parenting can have a measurable effect on a child's development. It has been scientifically demonstrable that autism is a real biological condition that deserve medical attention and serious study. You are advised to seek a more informed perspective.

Re:So (1)

Apuleius (6901) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196176)

As Simon Baron Cohen puts it, (roughly) Asperger's Syndrome is the label you get if you're autistic but also intelligent enough to at least try to cope.

Re:So (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196498)

And mildly autistic is the label you get if you don't fit in nor care to?

Re:So (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196606)

Mildly autistic isn't a technical term as far as I know. Autism is a very well defined diagnosis and you can't be just a little autistic.

Re:So (2)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196860)

Autism is a very well defined diagnosis and you can't be just a little autistic.

Sure you can. That's why it's called the Autism Spectrum and systems like CARS (Childhood Autism Rating Scale) exist.

The diagnosis for Autism might be boolean, but there are many other diagnoses that might not be Autism but remain on the Autism Spectrum.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196900)

Yes you can. That's why it's called "Autism Spectrum Disorder" not simply "Autism" anymore.

Re:So (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196528)

Was that in his last movie? I missed that one. It just looked like a less good version of Borat to me.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196190)

So we should cause cheerleaders to date nerds, and football players fangirls? Maybe no one who can name all eleven doctors should be allowed to marry at all, but rather should be put full time to impregnating Olympic athletes?

I knew this day would come. Take me to the athletes chamber, I'm ready.

Re:So (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196254)

So we should cause cheerleaders to date nerds, and football players fangirls? Maybe no one who can name all eleven doctors should be allowed to marry at all, but rather should be put full time to impregnating Olympic athletes?

The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor, and The Doctor. (None of them was named Who, just in case anyone on /. didn't realize that.)

So where's the women gymnastics team?

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196558)

Heh!

If the GP was referring to the actors who portrayed them... that's easy: (I *am* doing this off the top of my head)

William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davidson, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and finally, Matt Smith.

Re:So (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196562)

i know this was a joke but "Name All N Doctors" normally refers to naming all N Actors which a complete (wiki) list would be
        William Hartnell
Patrick Troughton
Jon Pertwee
Tom Baker
Peter Davison
Colin Baker
Sylvester McCoy
Paul McGann
Christopher Eccleston
David Tennant
Matt Smith

of course a real test would be naming all of the Companions (and matching with the Doctor of the time) or naming which Doctor only had a Movie (no shows)

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196712)

I've met some really effing stupid aspies. Aspies love to believe that their disorder makes them smart or is the result of them being smarter than everyone else, but it's demonstrably false.

Re:So (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196984)

> Maybe no one who can name all eleven doctors [...]

I'm sorry, really, but the first time I read that what shot through my mind was "Sure, I can do that. The first doctor. The second doctor. The third doctor." But that's either very silly or even more deeply geeky than what you meant. Can't decide. Never mind.

Parenthetically, I'd bet lunch that my teenage daughter can name at very least the actors who played the doctor since 1996, and probably three of the "classic" doctors, and she actually has a life.

NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37195934)

the rise in numbers is more a function of over diagnosis. Like ADHD before it.

Re:NO (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196458)

Dear AC,

You present a well thought-out and highly cogent argument in favour of your theory of over diagnosis. Your explanation of the difference between current over diagnosis and prior under diagnosis shows remarkable insight into the psyche of diagnosticians the world over. While I tend to agree with your findings on ADHD, I was initially unconvinced that the same mechanism was at play here with AS, but the evidence you present and your deductive reasoning are absolutely irrefutable and I now find myself an unwavering supporter of your findings. I implore you to publish your groundbreaking work, perhaps in Nature or NEJM.

Yours Sincerely,
Blubrick

P.S. Incidentally, your mother's moral virtue is beyond reproach.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37195944)

This idea came up between me and a friend when reflecting on the personality types in our highly-geek work environment: oh my what happens to those of us who have kids together. On reflection, many of our peers have smart/geeky parents.

I'd venture that a majority of my co-workers could fit this borderline criteria.

anecdotal counter point? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37195946)

my adopted son has aspergers (mild autism) and his biological father is definitely NOT technically minded. My wife (who I would say is technically minded) and I had a child together. While shes a complete sarcastic smartass like us, theres no indication of autism.

Re:anecdotal counter point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196438)

Dad, you are an unforgivable dick.

Re:anecdotal counter point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196846)

aspergers is *not* "mild autism. it is a form of autism, on the autism spectrum, but it can be severe, or mild, aspergers. it is it's own thing. it is not short hand for mild autism.

Any science behind this? (2)

Xentan (1089097) | more than 3 years ago | (#37195954)

I read the article, but could not find anything. Is it just his speculation? It sounds, and I use this word lightly, plausible as a thought experiment. Question is, is it just that?

I am diagnosed with AS and I am always interested in science behind it.

Re:Any science behind this? (1)

TafBang (1971954) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196476)

I knew it was just a bunch of retards on this website

Re:Any science behind this? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196544)

Matte monitors are less reflective. You should consider upgrading.

Thanks (1)

spudnic (32107) | more than 3 years ago | (#37195958)

Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Old news - Wired already has discussed this (5, Informative)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 3 years ago | (#37195970)

This has been SO covered before. [wired.com]

Does TFA add anything new?

Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37195978)

This has been suspected for a long time. The theory is that the geek density in Silicon Valley enabled many marriages between people who would otherwise have had trouble finding a date.

"Results are preliminary" (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#37195982)

Or so the article states. But, having read the article, the "results" are actually more speculation than anything else (and one line in the article says as much). He hasn't really studied it, he just thinks he's seen some evidence and decided to say so.

Now to pull some criticism out of my nether regions (gotta match the story for scientific rigor)... based on my observations, this seems like groundless speculation. Looking at all the couples I know socially, none of them are in the same field. Broadening the search to people of whom I'm aware... maybe a total of two couples are in the same/similar fields; so I have a hard time believing this hypothesis will turn out to have any significant basis in fact.

yeah, no... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37195990)

we all know autism/aspegers is caused by vaccines....

Re:yeah, no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196186)

yep because geeks/smart people in general believe in science and vaccinate the heck out of their kids, unlike normal people who cannot afford all sort of vaccines and thus their kids don't get aspegers/autism....

Diagnosis Criteria (4, Interesting)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 3 years ago | (#37195996)

Increasing rates in Autism are due to the ever expanding classification system of the DSM. Behaviour that was previously not included in the 'diagnosis' (qualifications, if you prefer) are now included.

You could read Jon Ronson's Psychopath Test for a small insight into the way the people behind the categorisation process simply make shit up and grow the criteria for inclusion to a category like they're pulling rabbits out of a hat stuffed with millions of rabbits.

Re:Diagnosis Criteria (2)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196202)

You could read Jon Ronson's Psychopath Test for a small insight into the way the people behind the categorisation process simply make shit up and grow the criteria for inclusion to a category like they're pulling rabbits out of a hat stuffed with millions of rabbits.

Of course they're doing this - it's entirely expected behaviour. After all, the more people they can mis-diagnose, the more $$$$.

They have to make up for all the revenue they lost with previous false claims that ulcers were caused by a neurosis or stress, that gays and lesbians are sick and can be cured, that cross-gender behaviour in children can be cured by physically and psychologically abusing kids and calling it "reparative therapy".

Money, money, money, always money, it's a rich shrinks world.

The answer is in the pudding (2)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196000)

Quote from article: "The theory is still largely speculation, shored up by seductive anecdotes about Asperger's appearing unusually commonly in MIT alums and their children..."

Let us know when you have more than speculation and we will be quite interested.

By the way, I was diagnosed with Asperger's so this isn't a troll post. Theory becoming something that gets peoples' minds moving in a direction that can cause false categorization of ideas is normal but not newsworthy.

Actually, yeah, it is. Fear, panic, and fascination keep the money flowin' :)

Re:The answer is in the pudding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196340)

I know several people who have been diagnosed with ADHD, Aspergers, and some even borderline Autism.

They were, at the same time, the only people I've managed to bond with.

Those, who didn't fit in the group mentality. They weren't loners by any means, they just picked their friends themselves. The same category is hardly ever found playing tribal team-sports such as soccer, football or hockey (rare, but possible).

They ended up being the most brilliant of us all, yet, the same people were diagnosed with something that bears a negative stigma. They were the sane people, the rest were insane. The whole scenario has been turned upside down.

Disclaimer: I have not been diagnosed with such.

Re:The answer is in the pudding (1)

ByteSlicer (735276) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196600)

It's the same as with ADHD: once they made a psychological profile for it, and started applying it to everyone, they suddenly found large numbers of sufferers. Of course, in case of ADHD the profile was largely made up, so now they put 3y olds on speed.

It's good to know that there are people whose minds works a bit different from average, but that doesn't mean you have to start putting all people in pigeon holes.

It's really cat people vs. dog people (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196016)

Look at the pet choice to determine the likelihood of a family having an autistic child. If the family has cats, (or just fish or reptiles), they're more likely to have children with autism than a family who has several social dogs.

Re:It's really cat people vs. dog people (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196194)

It's the other way around. My wife and I had an autistic child (asperger) first, and then thought a cat would fit in nicely ;) OTOH both my family and my wife's family had dogs when we were children...

Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196088)

As the parent of an autistic child, and professional computer geek, who has socialized in both groups, thi s has always seemed pretty obvious. Aspergers has, in some circles, been nicknamed "the geek disease". It has been known (no citation, sorry) that autism spectrum disorders correlate highly with the intelligence of both parents. However, there are different kinds of intelligence, and this article poses a plausible theory about just what characteristics are relevant

See /. article immediately below (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196128)

Everyone has a mate-choosing algorithm.

Re:See /. article immediately below (1)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196436)

However Women taking Birth Control pills have there algorithm altered. Makes you wonder how many little things ad up to result in a cause.

Cart before horse? (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196170)

An interesting question is whether people capable of intense mental focus (which may be medicalized into an Asperger's diagnosis)
are better at programming and thus go into it or related fields, and are thus found in higher percentages among geeks, or...

Does programming train (and eventually re-pattern the connections of) the brain into being more deeply attention-focussed, thus
causing Asperger's syndrome.

There is no doubt that patterns of mental work re-shape the brain's connections and tendencies
(e.g. Prolonged excessive multi-tasking eventually causes lack of ability to focus)
so if the programming comes first and Aspergers second, we might expect NOT to see an inheritance of the tendency,
unless it is an epigenetic effect.

I have an alternate theory (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196182)

They're also just the kind of obsessive types who will become convinced that their kid has autism the second he/she acts a little shy....and the kind of people who will take him/her to the pediatrician and pepper the good doctor with their "autism" observations until he finally relents and labels the kid an autistic tard and dopes him up on whatever-the-fuck autism drug happens to be hot today....and the kind of people who will then tell everyone who will listen all the details of the "autistic" kid and his/her treatments, in elaborate and excruciating fucking detail, whether they want to hear it or not.

Re:I have an alternate theory (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196480)

That is more true than many would like to think. There are 2 ways this can happen:
1. For poor kids, a good-hearted but misguided social worker may try to give them a diagnosis so they have a better chance of passing in school.
2. For rich kids, parents will try to give them a diagnosis in order to give them a leg up on exams, get them into and through good schools, and so forth.

What the diagnosis is changes: 15 years ago, the kids were all getting diagnosed with ADHD. About 7 years ago, it became autism or Asperger's. While the circumstances and genetics of kids change, I find it hard to believe that all of a sudden the causes of ADHD gave way to the causes of autism.

Re:I have an alternate theory (1)

turtledawn (149719) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196884)

Still plenty of ADHD cases around- and in my anecdotal observations of the ones I'm aware of I would consider them legitimate dx at that.

Re:I have an alternate theory (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196952)

1) social workers don't diagnose kids.

2) rich people don't already have the best tool for their kids getting a leg up: Money.

ADHD is not Aspergers . The understanding of the difference in the last 10 years or so is why you see a difference in diagnoses rates. People still have ADHD and some people have Aspergers syndrome. There no longer dump into the same group.

Re:I have an alternate theory (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196878)

I have never seen that, and all the doctors I have talked to who specialize in this have clear ways to determine autism.
new technique for diagnoses and better understand is what the change is.

You are factual wrong and have no idea of the science that is going on. They only person people want to here less from then someone yammering on about their kids is you.

Re:I have an alternate theory (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37197002)

Oh. it's SCIENCE, huh? Thanks for letting me know that there is now an objective blood test for this condition. Because I was ignorantly under the impression that diagnosis still consisted of subjective observations from some random asshole doctor, who may or may not have any fucking clue what he's even doing.

The beautiful thing about Asperger's Syndrome. (2)

Apuleius (6901) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196212)

Under the Americans With DIsabilities Act, Asperger's Syndrome is a get-out-of-stupid-corporate-team-building-activity-free card.

Now just try to claim, without giggling, that you're not tempted to go out and get diagnosed.

Re:The beautiful thing about Asperger's Syndrome. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196686)

get-out-of-stupid-corporate-team-building-activity-free? Our whole company did that by sacking the stupid-corporate-team-building-activity-supporting CEO.


Post anonymously on this one? Yeah!

Re:The beautiful thing about Asperger's Syndrome. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196808)

Which just goes to show, if you're offered a new position organizing team building activities, don't take it!

(Trust me on this.)

Capt'n Obvious to the rescue? (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196220)

I thought it was long established that autism has strong genetics factors, and that mild forms of autism are more strongly represented in technical fields than non-technical fields. Why is it shocking that when two people marry who are both from a population with a strong predisposition towards autism, their child has a higher chance to get autism as well?

Either there's something in the paper I'm missing, or the submitter got trolled by the language used in the paper.

Re:Capt'n Obvious to the rescue? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196804)

"I thought it was long established that autism has strong genetics factors" - Probably

"and that mild forms of autism are more strongly represented in technical fields than non-technical fields." - false

My *futurehypothetical* kids are probably screwed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196264)

First, obligatory snarky "This is news [bbc.co.uk] ?!?"

Second, this has always frightened me. See, I'm weird. I don't make good eye contact unless I do it deliberately. I'm easily overwhelmed by loud noises. If I was confused as a child, I'd have a breakdown. Friends were REALLY hard for me to make, I just didn't understand social interactions until late in Middle School, and even then I was mimicing instead of understanding how folks interacted, but most kids tolerated me at that point, so I was relatively happy. It wasn't until college that I *REALLY* started to understand how to interact with people, and that my brand of extremly honest answers wasn't what most folks expected. ("Hey! How you doin?" "Oh, well, I've kinda been really bummed out lately, SoAndSo is givin' me a real hard time, and my mom is just driving me insane, she thinks I've been having sex with this girl, but I swear we're just friends, hell she has a boyfriend!" "...Ok, well, that kind of sucks, take care.")

I've fallen madly in love with and married a weird woman. Growing up, she didn't realize that other kids thought she was mean until nearly middle school. She has mild but real OCD. She can't handle surprises.

Neither of us has a diagnosis of autism/asperger's, though we wince when we think about it. Hell, given the criteria nowadays, I probabaly WOULD have gotten the lable as a child, but self diagnosis of Asperger's being a internet hobby, I think I'll avoid too much speculation.

We have more or less accepted that we're going to have a high risk of some sort of Autistic Spectrum striking, but that's ok. We'll be watching. An autistic 2 year old was an autistic 18 month old, was an autistic 1 year old, and was almost certainly an autistic 6-9 month old. We WILL intervene. We will get the proper therapies, we will NOT let our child fall further and further behind if we can do a gorram thing about it. Play therapy, behavioral interventions. Close follow up with our pediatician. As good a diet as our likely picky child can be taught to eat. Every fracking vaccination we can use to protect him. Every bit of love we can give her.

And if our child is normal, well we'll do the same damn thing, just with less therapy. :-)

Autism *is* geneticly linked, and autism *does* respond to proper therapy. (And any parent who gets their child involved with chelation therapy should be prosecuted for neglect at the least and abuse if possible. If your child doesn't have lead poisoning, then "heavy metals" aren't causing your childs autism. You did. It's not your fault, but it's your genes.)

Heh, capcha: "persuade"

Re:My *futurehypothetical* kids are probably screw (1)

turtledawn (149719) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196972)

I am very glad for you - your kid will hopefully know s/he is loved, no matter what. I'm glad there are people who can do that. I took the opposite approach and on top of never being all that interested in kids, have always felt that there was no way I was subjecting some poor unsuspecting kid to my alternating neglect and intense focus nevermind the weird social issues. My cats seem messed up enough, honestly, a kid wouldn't stand a chance. Good luck and best wishes!

HA! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196298)

I loved that guy in Borat!

This doesn't sound like a new idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196512)

1. Autism is genetic. Not new.

2. If both parents carry the genotype, the phenotype is more likely to emerge. Not new.

3. When you isolate communities, inbreeding amplifies genetic problems. This happened in segregated Jewish communities, isolated mountain communities, and most ironicly to a community of White supremacists who established a community in South America in the 20th century.

Oy Vey (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196566)

You know I always did find jocks (and military guys) physically attractive, maybe I'm doing it wrong going after those cute awkward dorky guys...

I should be thinking of the children I'm unable to produce with another guy!

technically minded men don't marry or have kids (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196598)

They are missing an essential component for procreation.... Which would be a woman.

And I'm someone who knows, not that I would *want* to have a kid (I would never torture another human to have my face)...

Brilliant (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196608)

How long did it take them to come up with this theory...

Anyway. Just one more reason to find a not too bright 24 years old with long blonde hair and big boobs...

It stands to reason (1)

Dryanta (978861) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196612)

Of course /. is going to say 'it's not scientifically proven!' but plenty of things make absolute sense. I am an aspie, not self-diagnosed... hit every single one of the diagnosis criteria hard, and I couldn't be more proud of being HFA (Highly Functioning Autistic). So many people look at Aspergers or Autism as a very negative thing because it is different. There are NT (Neurotypical) and ND (Neurodiverse) people that do just fine functioning in society, or with each other in relationships. There also are those (you can call them Simon Baron-Cohen hits the nail on the head with Empathizing/Systemizing Theory of Mind, and this Assortative Mating is only the next logical step in explaining how Autism progresses from generation to generation. The science already proves that there are genetic precursors to Autism spectrum disorders, so it isn't really a stretch at all to say the parents aren't subconsciously on the spectrum and attracted to someone else who is. I am only really into girls on the spectrum who are hyper intelligent and 'nerdy' which in a lot of ways is all being an aspie is, socially awkward and overly intelligent. Believe it or not, most of /. userbase is somewhere on the spectrum, and many of the people who you associate with are as well. In my personal opinion, a good 70% of those I associate with and 10% of people I encounter display the traits, and the law of attraction be it romantic or otherwise means that like mixes with like. Almost all of my friends are aspies whether they know/admit/care or not, and of course people will just scream 'overdiagnosis' because statistically diagnoses have jumped. That is because we are only finally starting to scratch the surface of these 'disorders' and starting to realize that comorbid/cooccurring disorders correlate to causes. Psychology as a whole has only been around about a hundred years, so it is no surprise the field is rapidly developing quicker than the research can keep up.

Re:It stands to reason (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196788)

" I am only really into girls on the spectrum who are hyper intelligent and 'nerdy' which in a lot of ways is all being an aspie is"

No it isn't, and in fact being 'aspie'* does not mean more intelligent.. but please, go on.

Oh, and then you diagnose others based on opinion in a non science setting. interesting, please go on.

"It Psychology as a whole has only been around about a hundred years," This falls under neurology, but please, stop.

You are clueless about what you are talking about.

We are just recognizing it and being able to diagnose it properly. The evidences is strong it genetic; but this article is nothing but speculation and musing.

*Shortening a name like that is derogatory. I know that may not make sense to you, but it is.

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196624)

It's in the vaccines.

Nerds pairing isn't new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196652)

At least not in the last 30 years when the autistic rates have been increasing.

Changes in the DSM and mainstreaming autistic kids is new in that time frame.

wrong (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196700)

it's 'on the rise' because it is recognized and diagnosed more accurately.

"The theory is still largely speculation, shored up by seductive anecdotes about Asperger's appearing unusually commonly in MIT alums and their children,"

So..not a theory at all. Simply a musing, one that's trying to solve a problem that doesn't actual exist. The problem being 'why it's on the rise', not that Asperger isn't real.

And so is Assburgers. That's a nod to cracked.

New Find here... (1)

TafBang (1971954) | more than 3 years ago | (#37196840)

I am a scientist and pro psychologist After reading this story about the parents I've came to the conclusion that when 2 socially awkward people make babies, they make super socially awkward babies. Not trying to be funny but those 2 people were hardcore nerds and the wife has the most frizzy hair and awkard glasses and face gestures. It's common sense that they would create a kid with double the problems they had. It's basic science.

What about those six figure salaries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37196938)

Two geeks living together, lets say in Silicon Valley, are likely to be making high 5/low 6 figure salaries, and can afford to send their children to all sorts of doctors and therapists. What about the rates of autism in families in, oh, lets say east San Jose or East Palo Alto? I'm sure there are plenty of families without health insurance, whose parents aren't Google engineers, whose children may fall through the diagnostic cracks.

Wow (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37197010)

Good thing my wife can't figure out which end of a cell phone to talk into. Daughter (now a teen) is social and a geek. I guess I got lucky.

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