• Summary
  • Cerebellar Development
  • Study Summaries
  • The ABC Study

You are Invited to Join a Fetal Brain Study.

We would like to invite eligible pregnant women to join an important study at Children’s National Health System.

We are studying brain development during pregnancy in unborn babies with congenital heart disease. Most of these babies do not develop brain-related problems, but some do. In this study, we will gather information to help us identify future babies at risk for brain-related problems. This in turn will help us develop treatments that prevent such problems and ensure the best possible outcome for babies with congenital heart disease in the future.

Implications of Fetal MRI

We know that preterm birth affects one out of ten infants each year in the United States. We also know that brain injury is a very frequent complication of preterm birth.

Among the subset of extreme cases of preterm infants who do not suffer from preterm injury, we see over the years that a significant proportion of these children at school age go on to demonstrate a wide range of problems with learning, cognition, social and behavioral development.

Publications and Highlights

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Abnormal Placenta Growth & Impaired Growth of Fetuses with CHD

Published | March 15th 2016

A team of researchers from Children's National Health System used 3-D volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in an innovative study.

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Novel applications of quantitative MRI for the fetal brain

Published | April 27th 2011

This paper provides an overview of the role of advanced neuroimaging techniques to study in vivo brain maturation and explores the application of a range of new quantitative imaging biomarkers that can be used clinically to monitor high-risk pregnancies.

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Injury to the Premature Cerebellum: Outcome is Related to Remote Cortical Development

Published | November 11th 2012

In the current study, we examine the relationship between these remote regional impairments of cerebral volumetric growth and domain-specific functional deficits in these children.

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Cerebellar Injury in the Premature Infant Is Associated With Impaired Growth of Specific Cerebral Regions

Published | 2010

In this study, we hypothesize that this remote growth restriction is region specific in the cerebrum. In a prospectively enrolled cohort of 38 expreterm infants with isolated cerebellar injury by neonatal MRI, we performed follow-up volumetric MRI studies at a mean postnatal age of 35.5 - 13.8 mo.

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Wonsang You

Robust motion correction and outlier rejection of in vivo functional MR images of the fetal brain and placenta during maternal hyperoxia

Subject motion is a major challenge in functional magnetic resonance imaging studies (fMRI) of the fetal brain and placenta during maternal hyperoxia. We propose a motion correction and volume outlier rejection method for the correction of severe motion artifacts in both fetal brain and placenta. The method is optimized to the experimental design by processing different phases of acquisition separately.

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Marie Brossard-Racine

Prevalence and spectrum of in utero structural brain abnormalities in fetuses with complex congenital heart disease.

Brain injury is a major complication in neonates with complex congenital heart disease. Preliminary evidence suggests that fetuses with congenital heart disease are at greater risk for brain abnormalities. However, the nature and frequency of these brain abnormalities detected by conventional fetal MR imaging has not been examined prospectively.


Cerebellar Development in the Preterm

This research study seeks to better understand brain development in premature babies. We are particularly interested in an area of the brain called the cerebellum. The cerebellum is responsible for motor coordination of the body and also plays a role in higher functions such as attention, cognition and language.

This study investigates the development of the cerebellum in premature babies, and its relationship with early development.


The Brain Research Advanced Imaging with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Program | (BRAIN)

In our efforts to advance and disseminate the fundamental principles and clinical applications of sophisticated MRI techniques revolutionizing clinical research, we have developed an eLearning platform in collaboration with DoD & NIH to train military medical providers in conducting clinical research to study the causes, consequences and care of pediatric brain injury.

The BRAIN program focuses on developing the scientific rigor necessary to perform high-quality clinical research through instruction in epidemiology and biostatistics, an in-depth understanding of the underlying pathogenetic mechanisms of injury to the brain and its recovery, and the necessary skills to apply advanced MRI techniques to specific clinical research questions.

The long-term goal of this training program is for military clinician scientists to apply reliable, state- of-the-art, and clinically useful advanced brain imaging techniques to facilitate the diagnosis, management, and ultimately, treatment of brain injury.