Research sheds light on the origins of autism spectrum disorder

August 18, 2023

IN THE NEWS: For years, researchers have sought to find the root cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). New research is shedding light, finding that the condition is linked to two neurodevelopmental abnormalities involving excitatory neurons.

Healthline logo blue on whiteUCI Health autism expert Dr. Peter Chung spoke to Healthline about the findings. He was not involved with the study.

“The signals sent between neurons are necessary for activities like eating, talking, breathing, walking, speaking, and thinking. Within those connections, excitatory neurons are responsible for sending or spreading signals.”

Chung is a board-certified UCI Health pediatrician who specializes in developmental and behavioral pediatric medicine. He is an associate clinical professor at the UCI School of Medicine and medical director of the UCI Health Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders. He is a past UCI Health Patient Experience Award recipient and has been an Orange County Medical Association Physician of Excellence since 2021.

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