HHS Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2007–2012 (Strategic Plan). Human Development

11/22/2015

NIH is committed to funding a diverse portfolio of basic and translational research that addresses the physical, psychological, psychobiological, language, behavioral, social-emotional, and educational development of children. For example, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at NIH has taken a leadership role in advancing scientific knowledge regarding the acquisition of reading and mathematics skills, related learning disabilities, and language development and second language acquisition, as well as child maltreatment, childhood obesity, and the attainment of school readiness skills. Additionally, understanding normative brain development and its relationship to cognitive, social-emotional, and behavioral development is important in finding the causes of myriad childhood disorders related to mental retardation, mental illness, drug abuse, and pediatric neurological diseases, which can continue into adulthood.  To define the healthy ranges in brain growth and development patterns in children as they mature, NIH-funded researchers are creating the Nation’s first database of Magnetic Resonance Imaging measurement of normal brain development over time in children and adolescents in the United States.  NIH is bringing together a diverse array of researchers to design and support a large-scale longitudinal study that uses state-of-the-art brain-imaging technologies and that collects clinical and behavioral data, which will be used to develop analytical software tools.  A special effort will be made to disseminate these data, and as a result, the scientific community will have access to a Web-based, user-friendly resource that integrates neuroanatomical and clinical/behavioral data to examine brain-behavior relationships and relationships between physical maturation and brain development.

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