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Neuroimage. 2006 Mar;30(1):184-202. Epub 2006 Jan 11.

The NIH MRI study of normal brain development.

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Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, 3801 University St., Montreal, H3A 2B4 Canada.


MRI is increasingly used to study normal and abnormal brain development, but we lack a clear understanding of "normal". Previous studies have been limited by small samples, narrow age ranges and few behavioral measures. This multi-center project conducted epidemiologically based recruitment of a large, demographically balanced sample across a wide age range, using strict exclusion factors and comprehensive clinical/behavioral measures. A mixed cross-sectional and longitudinal design was used to create a MRI/clinical/behavioral database from approximately 500 children aged 7 days to 18 years to be shared with researchers and the clinical medicine community. Using a uniform acquisition protocol, data were collected at six Pediatric Study Centers and consolidated at a Data Coordinating Center. All data were transferred via a web-network into a MYSQL database that allowed (i) secure data transfer, (ii) automated MRI segmentation, (iii) correlation of neuroanatomical and clinical/behavioral variables as 3D statistical maps and (iv) remote interrogation and 3D viewing of database content. A population-based epidemiologic sampling strategy minimizes bias and enhances generalizability of the results. Target accrual tables reflect the demographics of the U.S. population (2000 Census data). Enrolled subjects underwent a standardized protocol to characterize neurobehavioral and pubertal status. All subjects underwent multi-spectral structural MRI. In a subset, we acquired T1/T2 relaxometry, diffusion tensor imaging, single-voxel proton spectroscopy and spectroscopic imaging. In the first of three cycles, successful structural MRI data were acquired in 392 subjects aged 4:6-18:3 years and in 72 subjects aged 7 days to 4:6 years. We describe the methodologies of MRI data acquisition and analysis, using illustrative results. This database will provide a basis for characterizing healthy brain maturation in relationship to behavior and serve as a source of control data for studies of childhood disorders. All data described here will be available to the scientific community from July, 2006.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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