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What are some of the risk factors for autism?

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Updated May 19, 2014

Question: What are some of the risk factors for autism?
Answer: Experts estimate that three to six children out of every 1,000 will have autism (some sources cite 1 out of 166 births). Males are four times more likely to be autistic than females; the reason for this has not been determined. Autism does seem to run in families, but it is not contagious. Twins are more likely than other relatives to share autism, and identical twins are extremely likely to share autism (though it may present quite differently in different children).

There are no clear indications that children with food allergies, digestive issues, seizure disorders, sleep disorders, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, speech apraxia or sensory integration dysfunction are more likely than other children to be autistic. There is, however, a large community of people who believe that one or more of these biological issues may lie at the root of some cases of autism. Certainly it is the case that autistic people are more likely than others to have these additional physical conditions.

Some other possible risk factors for autism include:

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