What to Expect


  1. You will talk on the phone with the study staff and answer some questions. These questions help us decide who is going to be in the study.
  2. If your child is chosen to be in the study, you may be asked to come in to our Imaging Research Center for a visit before your child’s scan. This is dependent on your child’s age, prior experience with MRI, etc. At this visit, the study staff will go over all the details of the study with you and your child and show you around the magnet.
  3. Also, either at this desensitization visit or on the day of the scan, your child will have a neurological examination, where a neurologist will check your child’s reflexes, balance, vision and other functions. The neurologist will NOT stick your child with any needles.
  4. When you go home after your first visit, the study staff will send with you a video giving you more information about the study and showing you a real person going through a similar scan so that you and your child can see what it will be like. Also, if your child is younger and might be frightened by the noises of the magnet, the study staff will send home a CD with those noises so that your child can get used to them. If you do not have a visit before the day of the scan, these materials will be mailed to you.
  5. When you come in on the day of the scan, your child will get a hearing test. S/he will be asked to listen to some noises in a pair of headphones and communicate with the study staff about what s/he hears.
  6. After all metal objects and jewelry are removed from your child’s body and clothing, s/he will be taken into the magnet room, and will lie down on a movable table that slides into the 3 Tesla MRI scanner.
  7. Your child’s head will be surrounded by a special antenna (RF coil), which picks up the radio signals used to make the images of his/her brain. While s/he is in the magnet, s/he will be in constant contact with the technologist performing the examination outside the magnet room through a closed circuit television camera and an intercom system.
  8. If your child is over the age of seven, s/he will be asked to perform several simple tasks at specific times while pictures of the brain are made by the magnet. These tasks will include tapping the fingers, looking at pictures, and hearing words and sounds. S/he will be given instructions over the intercom telling him/her when to perform each task and when to rest.
  9. Brain activity in response to these sounds will be recorded in the pictures of your child’s brain. The total time spent in the scanner will not exceed 90 minutes.
  10. The doctors will look at the scans of your child’s brain immediately. If the scans are of poor quality due to motion of your head or technical problems, s/he may be asked to repeat one or more scans, thus prolonging the examination past the 1.5 hour limit. If s/he is not comfortable in the scanner at any time s/he can contact the technologist using the intercom or alarm button and ask to be removed from the scanner.
  11. The pictures of your child’s brain activity, as well as the pictures of his/her brain’s structure will be used for the study.
  12. In addition to the MRI scan, we may also administer tests of intelligence, language and other skills as part of this research study. For these tests, we will bring your child into the Imaging Research Center one more time on a different day than the scan. This will be done by a psychologist or another study staff member outside of the MRI scanner in a testing room. The results of these tests will be reviewed by a clinical psychologist and will be made available to you and your child.