(KCEN) -- Researchers may have found a clue into what causes autism in children.
A recent study found the risk factors can go up when babies are exposed to air pollution from cars.
The study shows that babies who are exposed to pollution in the womb and during their first year of life are more likely to become autistic.
Children with the disorder have a broad range of learning problems.
New research from the Keck School of Medicine at USC shows children whose mothers lived in areas with high levels of pollution from traffic are twice as likely to develop the disease
Behavioral Pediatrician Dr. Douglas Vanderbilt said, "I think it's a lot of hope because we're moving forward and trying to understand what's causing this problem. How we can diagnose it and treat it?"
Vanderbilt, who works closely with researchers, says studies like this may pave the way towards one day finding effective treatments for this mysterious disorder.