The Mitochondrial Medicine Center at Kennedy Krieger Institute is one of just 17 centers across the country that has been designated as a Mitochondrial Medicine Center offering interdisciplinary clinical care, advanced diagnostics and therapies, and individualized basic, translational, and clinical research programs dedicated to improving the health of patients of all ages living with mitochondrial disease.

Kennedy Krieger Institute offers an interdisciplinary team led by Dr. Hilary Vernon, that includes physicians, nursing, physical and occupational therapy, genetic counseling, diagnostic laboratory, researchers and neurology. Other disciplines are available, depending on the needs of the patient and their family.

Diagnosis and Evaluation:

Mitochondrial disorders can be very difficult to diagnose because these diseases affect so many different organs in the body. Additionally symptoms can vary widely from patient to patient, often resulting in an incorrect or delayed diagnosis.  Because there is no single diagnostic test to identify a mitochondrial disease, it is important to work with a medical facility with expertise in the area of mitochondrial disease in order to make a correct diagnosis.  Kennedy Krieger Institute uses a number of different innovative tests and exams that includes biochemical testing in our Genetics Lab.


While there is no proven cure for mitochondrial disorders, there are therapies that help manage symptoms and improve quality of life for persons with these disorders. Treatment will vary from person to person, based on the specific mitochondrial disease and its severity. 

Treatments could include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Exercise
  • Vitamins

For parents of children with mitochondrial disease and who are considering having other children, genetic counseling is an option to learn more and discuss concerns.