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Environmental Causes to Autism

"I think we now understand that both genetic and environmental factors have to be taken seriously," said Dr. Joachim Hallmayer, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford and the lead author of the new study. "There has been growing acceptance that genes do not tell the whole story, in part because autism rates appear to have increased far faster than our genes can evolve."

"I was very surprised. The environmental influence is stronger than I thought," Hallmayer said. "It doesn't mean that genes don't play a role, but they may not play as big a role as thought."

Autism affects one out of every 58 boys. It is a brain injury that robs most of those diagnosed with the disorder of an independent life as an adult.

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