Brain Imaging Studies

Child Neuroscience Laboratory PI: Kevin Pelphrey

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a technique commonly used by doctors and scientists to see inside of the body using magnetic pulses. Our research is called functional MRI because we take pictures of the brain while participants are viewing pictures, hearing sounds, or watching videos. We are studying how the brain develops in children, adolescents, and adults.

Our lab works with children of all ages and has had much success scanning children age 4 and older. We spend time practicing with a simulator scanner so that children can get used to the scanner noises and lying very still so the brain pictures aren't blurry.

Below, we have listed the current studies that are open for enrollment. To learn more about fMRI, please visit our website to watch our videos.

  • For more information about eligibility and participating, contact our Research Intake Coordinator, Erin MacDonnell at (203) 737-3439.
  • To learn more about what it's like to participate in an MRI, please visit http://www.yale.edu/cnl/

Longitudinal Neurogenetics of Atypical Social Brain Development in Autism

Purpose:

The purpose of this study is to learn more about how the brain develops social skills and abilities. We will evaluate the cognitive and emotional function of individuals with and without autism. Participants will have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan while watching a series of movies and viewing pictures. Children will be asked to return for three annual visits. Both adult and child participants will also have their blood drawn. This research will allow us to better understand the interaction of gene, brain, and behavior.

Criteria for Participation:

All participants must be meet MRI safety eligibility.

Research Components:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan
  • Genetic collection

Charting Brain Development in Autism

Purpose:

This study aims to learn more about how the brain differs across development in individuals with autism, without autism, and individuals whose sibling is on the autism spectrum. In this ongoing study, we will see children, adolescents, and young adults (spanning ages 8 to 35) for a MRI scan. We encourage all families and individuals to participate in a blood draw.

Criteria for Participation:

All participants must be meet MRI safety eligibility.

Research Components:
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan
  • Genetic collection (optional but strongly encouraged)

Neuroimaging of the Development of Neural Mechanisms for Number Processing

Purpose:

As children grow older, the ability to think about and process numbers is very important. Little is known about how the brain develops these skills, or if there are certain ways that specific people learn best. This study will investigate how the brain thinks about number and how that might later help the development of mathematical, computing, and processing abilities across domains. Children are being asked to participate in one magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan annually for three years. Children may also come back for additional Visits to practice for the MRI.

Criteria for Participation:

All participants must be meet MRI safety eligibility.

Research Components:

  • All participants: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan/s
  • Adults: Personality and social opinion surveys
  • Children: Assessments and paper-and-pencil tests

Neuroimaging of the Development of Social Cognition

Purpose:

We are investigating how typically developing children develop the skills necessary to interact with other people. This study will examine the brain mechanisms involved in processing social and emotional cues. Children will be asked to return for two annually magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

Criteria for Participation:

All participants must be meet MRI safety eligibility.

Research Components:

  • All participants: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan/s
  • Adults: Personality and social opinion surveys
  • Children: Assessments and paper-and-pencil tests

Regression in Autism

Purpose:

Regression, a loss of developmental milestones, has been associated with the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) since they were first described. This study aims to learn more about regression, and how the brains of children with regression differ from children with non-regressive autism. In this ongoing study, we will see young children, adolescents, and young adults for an MRI scan and psychological testing. We encourage all families and individuals to participate in a blood draw. We are very interested in recruiting all children with regression to this study, including those diagnosed with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and those with normal development for their first two years.

Criteria for Participation:

All participants must meet MRI safety eligibility.