• 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.

Sign Up | RO1 Study

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Clinical Research
Fellowship in Fetal &
Neonatal Neurology

email | sbmulkey@childrensnational.org
call | 202-476-5815

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Project ONESIE: Protecting the Vulnerable Preterm Cerebellum

In this research study we plan to leverage our large fetal normative database to compare in-utero fetal and ex-utero preterm cerebellar growth trajectories. These findings will inform specific targets, interventions and timing of future neuroprotective strategies, advance clinical practices, and improve neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Amarie, an infant born prematurely, is enrolled in a Children’s research study that seeks to understand how preterm birth affects the cerebellum, a brain region responsible for motor coordination and that also may play a role in attention and language.

Kiara Crawford and her mother, Michelle Dallas, explain why they decided to enroll Amarie in a research study at Children’s National. This research study seeks to understand how preterm birth affects the cerebellum, a brain region responsible for motor coordination and that also may play a role in attention and language.

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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Regional microstructural organization of the cerebral cortex is affected by preterm birth

Published | March 20th 2018

To compare regional cerebral cortical microstructural organization between preterm infants at term-equivalent age (TEA) and healthy full-term newborns, and to examine the impact of clinical risk factors on cerebral cortical micro-organization in the preterm cohort

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Blood flow altered in brains of preterm newborns vs. full-term infants

Published | December 4th 2017

Blood, oxygen and nutrients follow function, with more flowing to rapidly developing cerebral regions

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Elucidating Metabolic Maturation in the Healthy Fetal Brain Using ÂąH-MR Spectroscopy

Published | July 2017

The long-term goal of our research is to translate these tools rapidly into clinical practice and develop early MR imaging biomarkers that can help monitor high-risk pregnancies and develop windows of opportunity for therapeutic intervention aimed at repairing and restoring fetal health and well-being.

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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.