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Neonatal Biomarkers StudyNeonatal Biomarkers in Extremely Preterm Babies Predict Childhood Brain Disorders: The Elgan-3 Study (Extremely low gestational age newborns) 

With support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborn Study completed its third wave of study visits (age 15 year) and begins the fourth wave, as participants reach 17 years of age.

The NIH selected ELGAN, along with similar studies in the United States, to join in a study of about 50,000 children to learn how the Environment influences Child Health Outcomes (ECHO). You can read more about ECHO at

ELGAN researchers have followed over one thousand children born at least 3 months early between 2002 and 2004 at 14 different hospitals in five states. We assessed these premature babies at birth and again when they were two and ten years old. In the first few weeks after birth, when the babies had routine blood tests, we saved a drop or two for later testing. Through analyzing these saved blood samples, we learned that children who had signs of sustained inflammation in their blood were more likely to have development problems when they were 2 and 10 years old.

See our study:

Social Cognition: Research study for Adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder A magnetic resonance imaging study to measure the concentrations of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain and discover how they are related to the social deficits seen in autism spectrum disorder. We are also testing how a medication changes these neurotransmitter levels, with the goal of using this technology to aid drug development for autism spectrum disorder.
See our study brochure: PDF Identifier: NCT02901431

Long-term Antipsychotic Pediatric Safety trial
See our study brochure: PDF Identifier: NCT03522168

AACAP Pilot Wrap-Around study – This study aims to investigate inflammatory cytokines as potential biomarkers of social communication deficits and to explore the relationship of these factors to measures of stress in patients and caregivers. We hope that the identification of biological and psychosocial correlates of social cognition will advance our understanding of social communication in ASD and improve our ability to diagnose and develop treatment strategies for these individuals. We are enrolling children aged 13 to 17 who are typically developing.
See our study brochure: PDF

Digital Helpers Study – We are enrolling teens and young adults ages 14 – 22 who have ASD to help us with a research study using Digital Helpers. The purpose of this study is to learn from teens and young adults on the autism spectrum, their parents/guardians and others, what an Augmented Reality-based Digital Helper should look like, sound like and what it should be able to do so it can be a helper that is useful and enjoyable for teens/young adults with ASD.
Please see our study brochure: PDF

Imaging Neural Markers of Social Engagement in the First Year of Life – Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate how patterns of social engagement in the first year of life influence the development of the social brain and subsequent developmental outcomes. (PI: Kim)

• Using multimodal imaging techniques and translational research to characterize microglial function and effects on synaptic pruning in children with ASD to determine how brain function is related to psychosocial stressors, social cognition and emotion regulation deficits. (PI: Jalnapurkar)

 Other ongoing research studies at the Shriver Center.

As a prospective participant, you may also be interested in the following resources:
• Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s description of a brain scan (MRI) experience [Youtube video made as part of the 2019 American Psychiatric Association annual meeting]• Publications from the National Institute of Mental Health [resource list from the National Institute of Mental Health]• Neuroimaging and Mental Illness: A Window Into the Brain
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s Children and Clinical Studies 

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