For years, Albright hereditary osteodystrophy lurked in the shadows of the developmental disorder world, obscure and unrecognizable to many physicians. Affecting an estimated fewer than 200,000 patients across the United States, the disease was virtually as difficult to diagnose as it was to treat, often leaving patients uncertain of their futures and how to lead healthy, quality lives.
Every day, researchers from around the world are seeking answers to a myriad of questions about autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and looking for insight into causes and treatments. When one in every 100 children will receive a diagnosis of autism each year, the need for research to move ahead is urgent.
In 2009, the FDA approved the use of human embryonic stem cell-based therapy for the treatment of patients with spinal cord injuries. Cell-based therapy - the use of human cells transplanted into the human body to promote healing - is not a futuristic concept. Bone marrow transplant, for example, is a cell-based therapy that was proven to be safe and effective more than 50 years ago. Stem cells are particularly useful in these cell-based therapies because they are both immortal and flexible, meaning they can divide without end and they can become almost any type of cell.
When scientists began The Human Genome Project in the early 1990s, their hope was to discover and interpret the entire blueprint for life, to decode not only how the human body is put together, but also to find the genetic cause and cure for every disease. Imagine their surprise when they discovered not the anticipated 100,000 genes, but rather 20,000 genes making up the human genome-about the same as that of fish and mice, and less than many plants!
You're waiting at the airport for your best friend to arrive. It's been several years since you last saw each other.
Learning disabilities can be frustrating for the children who have them as well as for the parents trying to help. Not physically obvious, learning disabilities often create significant difficulties with academic and social skills when they are not properly identified or treated.
More than 25,000 children will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders this year a number greater than AIDS, diabetes, and cancer combined yet so many aspects of the disorder remain a mystery. Is its cause genetic, environmental, or some combination of factors? Are dietary changes and drugs the best hope for treatment, or should the focus remain solely on behavioral interventions?
Learning to read can be a long and difficult process. The promise of first reading single words, then sentences, and then entire books waits like a light at the end of the tunnel. For a child with poor reading comprehension, however, the light never comes. Sentences are meaningless as the young reader struggles to understand the connection between different words.
Young children go through all sorts of phases, some of which can be alarming for parents. Tantrums, defiance, refusing to eat all can cause a great deal of stress. With time and patience, most of these habits fade quickly. A more disturbing problem for many families is self-injurious behavior like head banging, skin scratching or eye poking. For most children, mild behaviors such as head banging are a brief aspect of development.
The early years of a child's life are an exciting and promising time. Parents eagerly anticipate seeing their child's first steps and hearing her first words. But what happens when time passes and these milestones don't occur? When should parents seek help, and where can they find it? A child development study led by Dr. Rebecca Landa of Kennedy Krieger's Center for Autism and Related Disorders is attempting to help answer these questions.