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Cutting-edge Autism Research at UCSD Attracts $10 Million for New Center

Autism is a brain disorder affecting an estimated two million people in the U.S. It is the fastest-growing developmental disability affecting nearly one in every 150 births. UCSD was recently awarded

Cutting-edge Autism Research at UCSD Attracts $10 Million for New Center

(Photo: Courtesy of UCSD School of Medicine)

Maureen Cavanaugh (Guest Host): Receiving the diagnosis that your child has autism is a heart-breaking and life-changing event for every family who goes through it. But, if the condition could be diagnosed earlier, researchers say that very-early intervention could greatly improve a child's chances to live a more normal life.


That's the work being taken on by a new Autism Center of Excellence at UCSD. It's one of only six such centers established by the National Institutes of Health . The Center's director, is Eric Courchesne, whose research as professor of neuroscience at the UCSD school of medicine, has made important discoveries about the link between autism and excessive brain growth in infants. He'll be talking about the Center's mission and the new research that's going on about the genetics of autism.

My second guest is autism researcher Karen Pierce, who also happens to be married to Eric. She has developed a new way to check for early risk factors for autism in infants. It's called the "One Year Well-Baby Checkup Approach" and a large number of San Diego Pediatricians have begun using the procedure.


  • Eric Courchesne, professor of neurosciences at the UCSD School of Medicine and director of the Autism Center of Excellence at UCSD.
  • Karen Pierce, researcher at UCSD's Department of Neurosciences and the Autism Center of Excellence.