Research Frontiers

Courtney McGrath • December 14, 2005
New Study Investigates the Earliest Signs of Self-Injury in Children
Roots of a Dangerous Habit

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. 

Katherine Holman • November 15, 2005
Kennedy Krieger Study Focuses on Following Children through the "Gray Period" of Language Development
Communication Milestones: When 2 Worry

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.

Courtney McGrath • September 13, 2005
Researcher Moves One Step Closer to Revolutionizing Treatment of Pediatric Brain Tumors

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.

Staff Editor • December 08, 2004
Dr. Jonathan Pevsner

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.

Courtney McGrath • November 18, 2004
Researcher Explores Connection Between Motor Learning Deficits and Communication and Socialization Impairments in Children with Autism
Dr. Stewart Mostofsky with Child

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. 

Courtney McGrath • January 16, 2004
Study Probes Whether Drug Can Ease Neurological Decline Tied to Rett syndrome
Dr. SakkuBai Naidu

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.

Courtney McGrath • November 14, 2003
Kennedy Krieger Scientists Explore Syndrome's Effect on Neural Proteins

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.

Holly Lewis Maddox • September 11, 2003
Kennedy Krieger Researchers Hope That Advancements in Alzheimer's Disease Will Address Early Memory Loss and Other Symptoms in Individuals with Down Syndrome

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. 

Courtney McGrath • March 07, 2003
Kennedy Krieger Researcher Studies the Underlying Causes of Math Learning Disability in School-Age Children
Dr. Michele Mazzocco

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.