​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Translating research to change the way ​America ​​cares for ​​children and​ ​families.

We are internationally recognized as a leader in clinical and research programs focusing on childhood deafness, developmental language disorder, and related communication disorders. In 2013, we began a new frontier in neurobehavioral research using brain imaging techniques to better help diagnose and treat troubled children with severe behavioral and mental health problems.

Areas of ​Research

 

 

Balance ResearchDoctor doing Vestibular Reseach https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/balanceBalance Research
Center for Perception and Communication in Children (COBRE Grant)Cobre Areahttps://www.boystownhospital.org/research/cobreCenter for Perception and Communication in Children (COBRE Grant)
Child and Family Translational Researchadolescent boy looking at the camera smilinghttps://www.boystownhospital.org/research/translational-researchChild and Family Translational Research
Hearing and Speech Perception ResearchAudiologist tools on a medical charthttps://www.boystownhospital.org/research/hearing-speech-perceptionHearing and Speech Perception Research
Institute for Human NeuroscienceMRI and brain scanshttps://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscienceInstitute for Human Neuroscience
Neurobehavioral Research3T MRI machinehttps://www.boystownhospital.org/research/neurobehavioralNeurobehavioral Research
Sensory Neuroscience ResearchDNA Strand - Researchhttps://www.boystownhospital.org/research/sensory-neuroscienceSensory Neuroscience Research
Speech and Language ResearchSpeech language research https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/speech-languageSpeech and Language Research

​​

Research Connection​

Read the latest news about life-changing research at Boys Town National Research Hospital.​

View All News

 

 

An “Experimental Station” - Youth Care Research at Boys Townhttps://www.boystownhospital.org/news/experimental-stationAn “Experimental Station” - Youth Care Research at Boys Town2022-09-13T05:00:00Z<p>This year the Boys Town Child and Family Translational Research Center (TRC) is celebrating 30 years of Youth Care research publications with our 2021 Applied Research Bibliography. The bibliography contains 566 citations and abstracts of published Youth Care research which includes peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and book chapters. This anniversary provided us an opportunity to reflect on the history and heritage of Youth Care research at Boys Town.</p><p>The spirt of research at Boys Town goes all the way back to our founder, Father Edward J. Flanagan. In 1939, Fr. Flanagan said, “I like to think of Boys Town as an experimental station in youth work – a starting point from which we adults may gain a better and a finer knowledge of the problems of youth and the treatment of unusual cases that may arise”. Fr. Flanagan learned from the boys he cared for and then applied this knowledge to inform the rest of society on how to improve care for vulnerable children. This approach was later referred to as participatory action research. Today, we continue this approach at the TRC as we partner with children, families, and our practitioners to use research to improve the quality of child and family services and help us address the complex problems that we now face in society. </p><p>Youth Care research at Boys Town has evolved over several decades. In the 1970s, Boys Town was a replication site for a research-based model of residential care called the Teaching-Family Model, that was developed at the University of Kansas. This later became the Boys Town Family Home Program that exists today. One of the visionaries at that time, Dr. Dan Daly, realized that a formal research institute was needed to continue to support Boys Town’s Youth Care programs into the future. When asked why Youth Care research was started at Boys Town, he said, “First, we wanted to assess the long-term effectiveness of the Boys Town program. Second, we wanted to understand which elements of the program were most responsible for its success. Such understanding allowed us to successfully replicate effective programs across the country. Third, the changing needs of children and families dictated that we continue to develop and innovate. Research helped us both in program development and in testing the effectiveness of innovations.”</p><p>As a result, many research studies and partnerships followed, resulting in several of the other services Boys Town has today such as Common Sense Parenting®, In-Home Family Services®, Well-Managed Schools®, and the Residential Treatment Center. In addition to developing new programs, Youth Care research also helped to create and refine the systems of administration, training, consultation, and evaluation that are involved in routine monitoring and scaling up programs across the country. Today, this practice-research partnership is a key ingredient of making sure Boys Town programs are effective and replicable. </p><p>Boys Town’s On the Way Home® (OTWH) aftercare program is one example of how Boys Town has used research to evolve and meet the needs of children and families. The need for aftercare was discovered via routine follow-up surveys administered to caregivers of children who resided in our Family Home Program. Caregivers shared with us that they recognized the tremendous progress their children made at Boys Town, but the transitions back home and to school for their children were difficult. They told us they weren’t prepared to provide the same level of support the children had received at Boys Town and needed aftercare supports to help. </p><p>This valuable information inspired a partnership between Boys Town and Drs. Alex Trout and Mike Esptein at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln to design and test an aftercare intervention with a research project that was funded by the United States Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences (Grants # R324A12060, R324B070031). Ideas were collected from youth, caregivers, and teachers which resulted in the creation of the OTWH® Consultant position -- an individual who is trained to provide family, school, and homework aftercare support. Evaluations of OTWH® showed it was effective in helping children remain at home with their family and in school after they departed residential programs. </p><p>Currently, <em>OTWH®</em> is on two national clearinghouses, the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC) and the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse (PSC). These clearinghouses are resources that provide the public and state agencies with a way to find effective programs for children and families. Additionally, states can access federal dollars for using programs that are on the PSC. The recent addition of <em>OTWH®</em> on the PSC will improve access to a quality aftercare service for children and families because we listened to caregivers who shared their valuable experiences and input through research. For more information about <em>OTWH®</em> please visit: <a href="https://cebc4cw.org/program/on-the-way-home-otwh/" target="_blank">cebc4cw.org/program/on-the-way-home-otwh/</a> and <a href="https://preventionservices.acf.hhs.gov/programs/398/show" target="_blank">preventionservices.acf.hhs.gov/programs/398/show</a>.</p><p>The current evidence-based status for other Boys Town programs can be found here: boystownhospital.org/research/translational-research/evidence-based-registry-status.</p><p> <em>OTWH®</em> is just one example of the many research products that have been created over the years to improve the quality of services for children and families. To learn more about current TRC projects go to: <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/translational-research/current-studies">boystownhospital.org/research/translational-research/current-studies</a>. </p><p>As we move forward, the TRC will continue to partner with children, families, practitioners, researchers, and other professionals to help identify solutions to today’s complex problems in this “experimental station” we call Boys Town. We hope you will take some time to view our Publications page where you will find our 2021 Applied Research Bibliography and other research materials that may be of interest (<a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/translational-research/publications">boystownhospital.org/research/translational-research/publications)</a>.</p>
Boys Town Research Paper Named Editor’s Choice by The Journal of Pathologyhttps://www.boystownhospital.org/news/research-paper-named-editors-choiceBoys Town Research Paper Named Editor’s Choice by The Journal of Pathology2022-09-06T05:00:00Z<p>​​​​​​​<img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/Dom-Cosgrove.jpg" alt="Dom Cosgrove" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px 10px;width:150px;height:150px;" />A recent article by Dominic Cosgrove, Ph.D., Senior Director of the Boys Town National Research Hospital® Research Center, and his team was featured in the September issue of <em>The Journal of Pathology</em> and has been selected by the Editor-in-Chief to be his Editor's Choice. The Editor's Choice award is given to the article that the editor feels is the “must read" of the issue. Dr. Cosgrove's article presents recent findings in the ongoing research of Alport syndrome, that will enable scientists to have a better understanding of the molecular mechanism of the disease.</p><p>Alport syndrome is a genetic condition characterized by kidney disease, hearing loss and eye abnormalities. It is caused by an inherited defect in type IV collagen, a structural component of basement membranes that is needed for the normal function of the kidneys, ears and eyes. This rare disease occurs in approximately 1 in 2,500 to 5,000 births.</p><p>“People with Alport syndrome experience a progressive loss of kidney function and frequently develop sensorineural hearing loss, caused by abnormalities of the inner ear," said Dr. Cosgrove. “In 1991, when I first joined Boys Town, Alport syndrome was the first and only disease that had a known genetic cause."</p><p>Dr. Cosgrove's research solves a long mystery regarding a role for collagen receptors in Alport syndrome by identifying type III collagen in capillary basement membranes of the ear and the kidney that causes progressive damage to these organs. His findings open the door to a better understanding of the mechanism of the disease. This new understanding is particularly significant as it will enable pharmaceutical companies to better treat those dealing with the disease through the establishment of a drug therapies that addresses the kidney function and hearing loss in patients with Alport syndrome.</p><p>Boys Town congratulates Dr. Cosgrove and his team on this important discovery that will lead to more effective treatment for those suffering hearing loss due to Alport syndrome.</p><p> <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/path.5969">https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/path.5969</a>​</p>
Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids on the Way by Fallhttps://www.boystownhospital.org/news/over-the-counter-hearing-aids-on-the-way-by-fallOver-the-Counter Hearing Aids on the Way by Fall2022-08-24T05:00:00Z<p>​A new class of hearing aids that do not require a hearing exam or prescription will be available over-the-counter by mid-October, due to a recent ruling by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The devices are intended for adults with mild to moderate hearing problems. The FDA estimates that nearly 30 million adults in America could potentially benefit from hearing aid use, but only about one-fifth of those individuals currently use them.</p><p>At Boys Town Audiology, we have more than 40 years of experience in translational hearing research. Our highly trained staff of licensed and certified audiologists are available to consult with patients about their hearing aid options and can determine the type of device that is best for them. </p><p>We asked Dr. Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., Vice President of Research at Boys Town National Research Hospital, where he is also the Director of the Audibility, Perception and Cognition Laboratory, and chairman of the American Academy of Audiology’s Research Committee​, to share some important facts to know if you think you are a candidate for a hearing aid.<br><strong> </strong><br><strong>How can you determine if you need a prescription hearing aid or if an over-the-counter option would work for you?</strong><br>Over-the-counter hearing aids were specifically developed for people who have mild to moderate hearing problems.  Prescription hearing aids, however, are designed to assist patients with a wide range of hearing loss and are fully customized based on each individual's needs.</p><p>While an over-the-counter hearing aid does not require a hearing test, Boys Town recommends working with an audiologist to determine what kind of device will provide the best solution for you. A hearing test also can reveal if the hearing problems are resulting from other issues like wax in the ear or a medical problem.</p><p> <strong>Why is getting a device that works for your specific needs so important?</strong><br>There is no “one size fits all" in hearing aids. Over-the-counter hearing aids were developed to help people with a limited range of hearing problems, just as over-the-counter reading glasses help those with minor vision issues.  Many people, however, have too much hearing loss to benefit from these devices or simply need more features and customization than an over-the-counter device can provide.  Individuals currently using prescription hearing aids will continue to prefer the customization that is available by working with a professional who can adjust the device to their specific needs. <br><strong> </strong><br><strong>How do you know if a hearing aid is covered by insurance?</strong><br>Many insurance companies have benefits for prescription hearing aids.  Over-the-counter hearing aids are not currently covered by insurance.<br><strong> </strong><br><strong>Can hearing aids be returned or repaired?</strong><br>When purchasing a hearing aid, it is important to investigate if the device offers a return policy and if any warranty coverage is included. Over-the-counter devices may not have a usable life and may have limitations on whether they can be returned or repaired. Prescription hearing aids, however, can be returned and repaired. At Boys Town, we offer a minimum of a 50-day return policy and a 4-year warranty on our prescription hearing aids and most have a usable life up to 5 years. In addition, they can be refitted if hearing changes. </p><p>At Boys Town, we welcome the arrival of over-the-counter hearing aids. While not a replacement for customized, prescription hearing aids, these new devices will benefit the millions of Americans with hearing loss, who currently do not use hearing aids.​<br></p>
Change Lives and Earn Moneyhttps://www.boystownhospital.org/news/change-lives-earn-moneyChange Lives and Earn Money2022-06-14T05:00:00Z<p>​​​​You can earn money, help advance science and change lives by participating in research studies this summer at Boys Town! Boys Town is looking for participants from all age groups to join our life-changing research studies. Participants may earn $15 per hour or more for their time. Studies are non-invasive and fun – and can help change the lives of children with hearing, communication, developmental, behavioral and mental health challenges.  We need participants with and without these challenges.</p><p> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/participate">Browse our list of current openings</a> and sign up today! This is a great summer break activity for kids and adults alike! <strong>Don't see a study that fits you?</strong> Boys Town is always looking for research participants<a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/participate">; sign up</a> to be notified of future studies. </p>
Boys Town National Research Hospital has been Awarded a $12.5 Million COBRE Grant to Study Pediatric Brain Healthhttps://www.boystownhospital.org/news/btnrh-awarded-cobre-grant-to-study-pediatric-brain-healthBoys Town National Research Hospital has been Awarded a $12.5 Million COBRE Grant to Study Pediatric Brain Health2022-03-04T06:00:00Z<p>Boys Town National Research Hospital will create a new Center for Pediatric Brain Health using funding from a $12.5 million COBRE (Center of Biomedical Research Excellence) grant that was recently awarded from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This grant is renewable at a similar funding level for up to 15 years. </p><p>The Center for Pediatric Brain Health will be an important new part of the recently created Institute for Human Neuroscience. Initially, the Center will support four early-career researchers who will focus on different issues affecting pediatric brain health, including radon exposure, pubertal hormone levels, the impact of hearing loss on language processing, emotional dysregulation, and how the emergence of psychiatric traits is related to brain network reconfiguration. </p><p>“This Center grant will lead to major breakthroughs in pediatric neuroscience and position Omaha, and particularly Boys Town, as an international hub for pediatric brain research and clinical care," said Tony Wilson, Ph.D., Patrick E. Brookhouser Endowed Chair for Cognitive Neuroscience, Director of the Institute for Human Neuroscience, and principal investigator at the Center for Pediatric Brain Health. “These centers are not very common, and centers focused on pediatrics are even more rare." </p><p>Boys Town Hospital is focused on taking the research conducted at the Center for Pediatric Brain Health and using it to develop the best treatment options to advance patient care in pediatric neurology and other specialties. </p><p>“Boys Town has a history of unwavering commitment to improving the lives of children and families," said Jason Bruce, M.D., Executive Vice President for Health Care and Director of Boys Town National Research Hospital. “The new Center for Pediatric Brain Health will allow us to explore deeper into neurological and mental health conditions and develop even better treatments and therapies for all children who need this care."  </p><p>COBRE grants are meant to fund a succession of new researchers in a specific scientific area. As the four current investigators complete their studies, additional newly recruited researchers will move on to the grant. With the possibility of funding 12-15 scientists over 15 years. A COBRE grant is an exceptional way of supporting the next generation of researchers and building regional capacity for excellence in a specific target area, such as pediatric brain health. </p><p>Another important component of a COBRE grant is the mentorship structure it provides. Each researcher will have a Boys Town mentor that will work with them on their research protocols and establishing a line of research.  In addition, each researcher will have an external mentor that is an expert in their field of study; these can be national or worldwide experts. The Center for Pediatric Brain Health will also have its own executive advisory committee filled with leading international researchers in the field. </p><p>Boys Town's Center for Hearing Research received a COBRE grant eight years ago to fund the Center for Perception and Communication in Children. With Lori Leibold, Ph.D., as the principal investigator, the Center received renewed funding at its five-year review. Boys Town National Research Hospital is also a research partner in Creighton University's first COBRE grant to fund its Translational Hearing Center.</p><p> <img alt="Meet the first four neuroscience researchers at the Center for Pediatric Brain Health." src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/P20-Researcher-banner.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /> <em>Meet the first four neuroscience researchers at the Center for Pediatric Brain Health. L to R: Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham, Ph.D., Brittany Taylor, Ph.D., Tony Wilson, Ph.D., Director of the Center, Stuart White, Ph.D., and Gaelle Doucet, Ph.D.</em><br></p>
Supporting the Next Generation of Neuroscientists at Boys Town’s New Pediatric Center for Brain Health https://www.boystownhospital.org/news/supporting-next-generation-neuroscientistsSupporting the Next Generation of Neuroscientists at Boys Town’s New Pediatric Center for Brain Health 2022-03-03T06:00:00Z<p>​Boys Town National Research Hospital received a $12.5 million COBRE (Center of Biomedical Research Excellence) grant from the National Institute to develop the next generation of neuroscientists…but the outcome this will have on pediatric neurological, mental, and behavioral health is priceless.</p><h2>Meet Our Researchers</h2><p> <img class="ms-rtePosition-1 custom-is-rounded" alt="Gaelle Doucet" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/Doucet-Gaelle.jpg" style="width:140px;height:140px;margin-right:10px;margin-left:0px;" /> </p><p> <strong>Gaelle Doucet, Ph.D.</strong><br><a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/brain-architecture-imaging-cognition" target="_blank">Brain Architecture, Imaging and Cognition Laboratory</a><br>Dr. Doucet’s research aims to identify the role of all major brain networks in everyday life throughout the lifespan and how their functions change with aging. Her lab is studying how the brain adapts from adolescence to late adulthood, as well as why some individuals will develop mental disorders and whether we can predict or prevent the start of disorders.<br clear="all"></p><p> <img class="ms-rtePosition-1 custom-is-rounded" alt="Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/Heinrichs-GrahamElizabeth_.jpg" style="width:140px;height:140px;margin-right:10px;margin-left:0px;" /> </p><p> <strong>Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham, Ph.D.</strong><br><a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/casi" target="_blank">Cognitive and Sensory Imaging Laboratory</a><br>When performing cognitive and language tests, some children with hearing loss perform at or above the level of their normal-hearing peers, while others fall behind. Dr. Heinrichs-Graham’s lab uses brain imaging coupled with behavioral and audiometric testing to investigate the impact of mild-to-severe hearing loss, as well as the quantity and quality of therapeutic intervention, on brain, language, and cognitive function through development, with the ultimate goal of learning how we can optimize performance for all children who have hearing loss.<br clear="all"></p><p> <img class="ms-rtePosition-1 custom-is-rounded" alt="Brittany Taylor" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/TaylorBrittany.jpg" style="width:140px;height:140px;margin-right:10px;margin-left:0px;" /> </p><p> <strong>Brittany Taylor, Ph.D.</strong><br><a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/neurodiversity" target="_blank">Neurodiversity Laboratory</a><br>About half of homes in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa test high for radon, a naturally occurring gas that builds up in homes and other buildings and is linked to the development of certain cancers in adulthood. Despite the known long-term consequences of radon exposure, the impacts on developing children are poorly defined. Dr. Taylor uses structural and functional neuroimaging, cognitive testing, and measures of health and inflammation to explore how home radon exposure impacts brain development in kids.<br clear="all"></p><p> <img class="ms-rtePosition-1 custom-is-rounded" alt="Stuart White" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/WhiteStuart.jpg" style="width:140px;height:140px;margin-right:10px;margin-left:0px;" /> </p><p> <strong>Stuart White, Ph.D.</strong><br><a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/developmental-clinical-neuroscience" target="_blank">Developmental Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory</a><br>Dr. White’s lab works with healthy teens and youth who have serious emotional and behavioral problems (aggression, emotion regulation problems, impulsivity and other mental health/ behavioral problems) and/or exposure to traumatic events. He uses brain imaging and measures of endocrine function (hormones) to understand how changes due to puberty impact the neural systems involved in both trauma and serious behavioral problems.<br clear="all"></p>

​​

View All News