Teresa Palumbo, Waisman Center
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. The Waisman Center encompasses a wide range of research and programs related to Down syndrome, with a goal of better understanding the biological underpinnings of the syndrome, the brain structural and neurochemical differences associated with Down syndrome, the behavioral and clinical characteristics of individuals with Down syndrome across the life course, as well as providing resources and services to individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
DOWN SYNDROME ACTIVITIES AT THE WAISMAN CENTER
More than 400,000 people in the United States have Down syndrome, or trisomy 21—a chromosomal condition caused by an extra 21st chromosome. Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition: approximately one in every 733 babies is born with Down syndrome each year.
The Waisman Center encompasses a wide range of programs related to Down syndrome, with a goal of better understanding the biological underpinnings of the syndrome, as well as providing resources and services to individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
Anita Bhattacharyya, PhD, engages in basic biological research using Down syndrome-specific stem cells to study the development of the cerebral cortex and how it is altered in Down syndrome.
Brad Christian, PhD, is leading a study using neuroimaging (MRI and PET scanning) to evaluate the degree of amyloid deposits in the brains of adults with Down syndrome. This information is being correlated with the results of pyschological testing done by Sigan Hartley, PhD, to better understand the aging process in this population.
Marsha R. Mailick, PhD, in conjunction with Anna Esbensen, PhD, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, are conducting research over a 21-year period on family stress and coping when there is a son or daughter who has Down syndrome. The study focuses on long-term family influences on the functioning of adults with Down syndrome in mid-life and the early years of old age.
Houri Vorperian, PhD, is studying how the oral and pharyngeal anatomy affects speech in individuals with Down syndrome and other populations. This study analyzes MRI and CT scans to produce a new understanding of the special challenges faced by some people with Down syndrome in speaking, swallowing, and breathing.
RESOURCES AND SERVICES
Clinical Services and Supports (608) 263-3301
Children with Down syndrome are seen in the Waisman Center Genetics Clinic for diagnosis and in the Waisman Center Down Syndrome Clinic for medical management in the areas of feeding, growth, development, communication, behavior, hearing, therapy and support services.
The Waisman Center is a community leader for outreach programs to assist people with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities to thrive in the community. An example is Sound Response—an overnight electronic monitoring program that makes it possible for people with disabilities to live safely and independently in their homes.
Early Childhood Education (608) 263-5760
The Waisman Early Childhood Program (WECP) is a model inclusive preschool in which one third of the enrollment is reserved for children with developmental disabilities. Since its inception in 1979, children with Down syndrome have been an integral part of the program.
Research Participation (800) 965-9205; (608) 263-5192
The Waisman Center’s Research Registry (RPC) is a resource that links individuals and families to research projects at the Waisman Center. The RPC maintains a confidential registry of families and individuals who would like to be contacted about upcoming research projects. You can enroll in our registry and be notified when a study you qualify for is seeking participants. Enrollment in the research registry does not obligate you or your family to participate in any study.
YOUR GIFT MAKES A DIFFERENCE
In making a gift to the Waisman Center, you help improve the lives of individuals with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities, neurodegenerative diseases, and their families. Your gift helps move discoveries out of the lab and into clinical settings resulting in new treatments for Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities. There are many ways to become a part of the Waisman experience. They include immediate gifts such as cash and securities, and planned gifts, such as bequests, trusts, and life income agreements.
Together, we will improve the lives of children and adults with Down syndrome in Wisconsin and beyond.
TO SEND A GIFT: Make a check out to the UW Foundation and mail it to the Waisman Center with a note in the memo line indicating your gift is for Down syndrome research. Director’s Office, Waisman Center 1500 Highland Ave, Rm T201 Madison WI 53705