Research in Down syndrome

If we're going to improve the health and well-being of our patients, we need to develop better treatments for the conditions sometimes associated with Down syndrome and clinical research plays a critical role in that work.

Doctors and researchers at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin are working hard to further research on these conditions and others, and your family's participation in research could help us improve outcomes for other children with Down syndrome. Every study is reviewed by the hospital's Institutional Review Board to make sure that it is safe and ethical. Current research studies include:

  • Examining the Parent-Child interaction during treadmill stepping with toddlers with Down syndrome. Contact Vicki Moerchen (414) 229-2449 or send an email
  • Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's Disease (adults 30 and older). Contact Renee Makuch at (608) 262-4717 or by email
  • Parenting and Feeding in Children with Special Needs (includes Down syndrome) in children 5-16 years of age. Contact Michele Polfuss at (414) 229-2609 or by email
  • Measuring Physical Activity in Children with Special Needs is now recruiting children with Down syndrome ages 4-18. This study is designed to help us learn how to measure physical activity in children with special needs. Study participants will come to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin for approximately 5 hours and then wear two measurement devices for 2 weeks. As a thank you, families will receive gift cards to Target for $250.00. This study is run by the College or Nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact Michele Polfuss at (414) 229-2609 or by email.
  • Speech and Sound Reflection Study (individuals of all ages with Down syndrome). This study examines how changes in the anatomy of the mouth and throat affect the production of speech sounds. Study includes a hearing screen and voice recordings while repeating sounds, words, and sentences. Participants with recent head or neck imaging (CT or MRI scans) are highly desired but not essential. Compensation is provided for participants. Study duration is 30-60 minutes. You can view this study's consent form as well as an informational flyer here: www.waisman.wisc.edu/vocal/ongoing-studies.html. Please contact the Vocal Tract Lab at (608) 263-5610 or email if you have any questions or would like to schedule a visit.

Want to get involved? Find a list of all the current studies at Children's Research Institute or learn more about research at Children's Hospital: