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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides unprecedented access to the anatomy and physiology of the human brain and has launched a new era of pediatric neuroscience. Because it does not use ionizing radiation, it is safe not only for single scans of children, but for repeated scans throughout the course of maturation. In this chapter, we will summarize results to date from an ongoing longitudinal brain MRI project that has been underway at the Child Psychiatry Branch (CPB) of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) since being initiated by Dr. Markus Krusei in 1989. The design of the study is for volunteers to visit the NIMH at approximately two-year intervals for (1) genetic analysis; (2) cognitive/emotional/behavioral assessment; and (3) brain imaging.
The data presented here are the quantitative morphology (i.e., size and shape) results from our typically developing participants between the ages of three and twenty-seven years. The findings will be grouped by tissue type (i.e., gray matter, white matter, cerebrospinal fluid) or structure/region (i.e. total and lobar volumes, caudate, ventricles, etc.) and shown as a function of age separately for boys and girls. To promote independence of the sample data points for the non-twin analyses, only one subject was chosen per family. The particular person chosen from a given family was based on an attempt to optimize the age and gender distribution of the sample and was done blind to knowledge of their imaging results. Unless otherwise indicated, the results in the following sections are from the most recent analyses of the CPB data consisting of 829 scans from 387 subjects, ages 3 to 27 years.
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