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By Charlie Fidelman, Gazette Health Reporter May 24, 2010

MONTREAL — By the tender age of 18 months, most toddlers point at things, follow the gaze of someone else, or engage in pretend play.

Children who fail these three key indicators are the ones likely to be diagnosed with autism or its relative, Aspergers Syndrome, the high-functioning end of autism — and the spectrum is far more common in boys than in girls.

Simon Baron-Cohen’s voice is muddied by a hum from a bad telephone connection, but the British psychologist registers clearly when he says that gender might have everything to do with autism.

New research, says the director of the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge who has spent more than two decades studying autism spectrum disorders, might also link prenatal sex hormone differences in the brain to autistic traits.

For Baron-Cohen, autism is the case of the “extreme male brain.” It’s not a disease but a different mental style, a variation “and we have to make space for diversity.”

Read in Full:  http://www.canada.com/health/Gender+might+have+everything+with+autism+British+researcher+says/3066072/story.html

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