Autism studies among the Asian-American diaspora.
Last week's issue of Nature had a special section on autism research. One look at the series of articles should convince anyone how complex the determination of causal factors for this disorder is. From a time when pseudoscientific environmental factors (such as "frigid" mothers) were supposed to play a major role, we have reached a stage where massive amounts of genetic data are uncovering tantalizing hints behind Autism Spectrum Disorders (the title itself pointing to the difficulty of diagnosis and description) without a clear indication of causes. Indeed, as pointed out in the Nature articles, some researchers think that the pendulum has now swung to the other side and environmental factors need to be taken into account again.
Now most of the Asians who migrated to the US in the last few years have children who are quite young. From what I read in the Nature article, it seems to me that this Asian community, especially concentrated in places employing large numbers of technically-minded professionals like Silicon Valley and New Jersey, might provide a very good population sample to test Baron-Cohen's hypothesis between autism in children and their probability of having parents who are engineers or physical scientists. Have there been any such studies indicating a relatively higher proportion of ASDs among Asian-American children? I would think that geographic localization and a rather "signal-rich" sample to test Baron-Cohen's hypothesis would provide fertile ground. And surveys conducted with these people by email or in person might be a relatively easy way to test the idea. In fact you may even gain some insight into the phenomenon by analyzing existing records detailing the ethnicity and geographic location of children diagnosed with autism in the last two decades in the US (however, this sample may be skewed since awareness of autism among Asian parents has been relatively recent).