Brown Alpert Medical School Autism Expert on Latest Advances in Research and Testing – GoLocalProv

Thursday, April 02, 2020

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Moreno De Luca on GoLocal LIVE

"We know that autism is one of the mental health conditions that has the strongest genetic basis and that is because we know the chances of someone having autism are greater if there are other people with autism in their family," said Moreno De Luca.

"Many of the studies are showing us that theres hundreds if not thousands of individual rare genetic variants, that when we put them all together, are going to explain anywhere between 30 and 40% of cases of autism," he added. "So what this means in a nutshell and just the impact of this information is that potentially one out of every three people with autism are going to have an underlying genetic cause for their autism even if those individual genetic causes is going to be very rare."

"Our work focuses precisely on those rare genetic changes we want to identify what those individuals rare genetic variants are, to understand how they lead to clinical presentations like autism and to understand what other areas of mental health are impacted," said Moreno De Luca.

"Im very surprised to see more and more of the studies that are coming out to the point where science is moving so quickly what that means is most of our work is our ability to analyze the data that were acquiring and our ability to make sense of all that vast amount of data," he said. "I think things are moving extremely rapidly and Im very excited about whats coming in the next couple of years."

Path to Brown

Moreno De Luca, MD, MSc is a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist at the Verrecchia Clinic for Children with Autism and Developmental Disabilities at Bradley Hospital, where he also provides genetic psychiatry consultation to people with autism spectrum disorder, or neuropsychiatric conditions arising from a clinically-identifiable genetic cause.

I really knew I wanted to focus on both psychiatry and on genetics and I thought I had to pick between the two, said the Colombian native. It turns out theres an entire new field call psychiatric genetics and autism seems like the best opportunity to fuse those two interests together."

"I knew I wanted to do my clinical training here in the U.S. because of the great programs that are here and the clinical networks I came to Emory University for a postdoctoral fellowship in neurogenetics. From there I moved to Yale for my residency in adult psychiatry and finally I came here to Brown for my fellowship in Child and Adolescent psychiatry where I stayed on board as an attending psychiatrist at Bradley Hospital and an assistant professor at Brown University."

About Alpert Medical School -- and Smart Health

Since granting its first Doctor of Medicine degrees in 1975, the Warren Alpert Medical School has become a national leader in medical education and biomedical research. By attracting first-class physicians and researchers to Rhode Island over the past four decades, the Medical School and its seven affiliated teaching hospitals have radically improved the state's health care environment, from health care policy to patient care.

"Smart Health" is a segment featuring experts from The Warren Alpert Medical School GoLocal LIVE.

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Brown Alpert Medical School Autism Expert on Latest Advances in Research and Testing - GoLocalProv

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