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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009 Sep;34(8):1242-6. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.03.006. Epub 2009 Apr 5.

Hormonal reactivity to MRI scanning in adolescents.

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  • 1University of Wisconsin-Madison, Waisman Center, 1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705, USA.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a procedure that is now widely used to study emotional and cognitive processes in children and adolescents. However, the context within which brain imaging data are collected is a social context that may induce anxiety and stress. Several hormones have been shown to be responsive to environmental stressors. These stress responses may impact ability to successfully complete the procedure or collect imaging data. To investigate these issues, we measured salivary cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and testosterone in 160 adolescents during both a simulation (practice) and actual MRI. Hormones were all responsive to the MRI scan, indicating that an MRI scan itself can induce a stress response, with some hormones predicting the likelihood that an adolescent could successfully complete the scan with adequate data. The simulation scan did not hinder hormonal responses to the actual MRI. These data suggest that researchers should consider the effects of heightened hormonal reactivity to the scanning environment; adolescent's reactions to brain imaging may contribute to image data loss and may potentially influence outcome measures.

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