Autism Begins in Fetal Development and is Largely Caused by Genetic Factors

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SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders

6363 Alvarado Court

250

San Diego, CA 92120

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The SDSU Center for Autism is committed to providing the latest info on autism and combatting misinformation and stigma. We are proud to be hosting a talk looking at what we know about what "causes" autism.

Once considered a very rare disorder of uncertain cause and studied by few, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is now recognized to be startlingly common. Combining greater general interest in autism research with new biological and computational technologies have revolutionized our understanding of autism.

This revolution has clarified what autism is and is not. Eric Courchesne will review recent key findings that now challenge long-held views of autism. It is now clear that ASD is not due to vaccines, is not caused by parents or any of a myriad of unfounded speculations, is not due to just a small handful of genes, does not start in early childhood or involve late regression, is not due to a single stage of deviate development in the majority. Instead, new findings show it is largely a genetic disorder with heritability at 80% or more and with significant percentage due to non-inherited genetic mutations.

ASD begins in fetal life and is a multi-stage, multi-process progressive disorder spanning most of fetal life, with convergent and divergent fetal subtypes that lead to clinical outcome heterogeneity. Ground breaking advances in iPSC-derived fetal cellular, molecular and physiological models from living ASD toddlers can link fetal and clinical measures within-child.

Eric Courchesne is a Professor of Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego and a researcher looking at the developmental neurobiology of autism, including molecular, cellular, anatomical and functional abnormalities associated with autism. He is also the director of the UC San Diego Autism Center.

Directions:

By Trolley: Take the Green Line to Alvarado Station. Cross Alvarado Road and turn right to walk towards Alvarado Court. Turn left onto Alvarado Court, walk a couple minutes, and you will see 6363 Alvarado Court building on your right.

By Car: If you are driving from 8 Freeway, get off at College Avenue towards San Diego State University. At the intersection, turn left onto East Campus Drive, and then immediately turn left onto Alvarado Road. Then turn right onto Alvarado Court. You can park along the street or park in the parking lot just before building 6363 Alvarado Court.

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SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders

6363 Alvarado Court

250

San Diego, CA 92120

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