The past 30 years have seen remarkable improvements in the treatment of childhood cancers. Children diagnosed with leukemia and other diseases once considered death sentences now typically survive at least five years. But brain cancer remains an ominous threat killing nearly 40% of children within five years of diagnosis, and leaving many survivors with permanent cognitive deficits as a result of surgeries and radiation therapies.
The complex workings of living creatures have fascinated thinkers for centuries. In the fourth century B.C., Aristotle observed hundreds of species, dissecting dozens, in the hopes of classifying them logically. Revered Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci performed crude, but innovative, experiments, injecting hot wax into the cerebral ventricles of an ox, dissecting the ox after the wax had hardened in order to discern the precise shape of the ventricles.
Most everyone knows the classic symptoms of autism: poor communication and difficulty interacting with others. Most treatment and research efforts focus on these deficits, but another area of concern is motor skill development.
Since the late Dr. Andreas Rett first identified the syndrome that bears his name more than 50 years ago, doctors have learned to treat the seizures, reflux and other symptoms of the disorder but they have not yet learned to alleviate the neurological impairment it causes. Researchers at Kennedy Krieger will begin a new drug trial this summer that represents an important step toward achieving that goal.
Kennedy Krieger recently received a major grant from the National Institutes of Health to further investigate Fragile X syndrome, the second most common cause of intellectual disability. The two-year, $300,000 grant will help a team led by Kennedy Krieger's Dr. Walter Kaufmann learn more about how the disorder manifests itself, which could make treating the symptoms of Fragile X easier.
Researchers at Kennedy Krieger Institute are investigating two experimental treatments that it is hoped will slow or stop the progress of Alzheimer's disease in people with Down syndrome.
Individuals with Down syndrome develop the clinical symptoms of Alzheimer's disease much earlier in life than people without the syndrome.
Ask a young child what the toughest subject is in school, and he is likely to say math or reading. While there have been thousands of studies on reading disabilities and, consequently, methods developed for overcoming them there have been far fewer on math dysfunction. Michèle M. M. Mazzocco, Ph.D., director of Kennedy Krieger Institute's Math Skills Development Project, has been leading a unique study to define math learning disability, identify early indicators of poor math achievement and understand how it develops.