This study will use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate language function in
children-that is, how language skills such as naming objects, understanding spoken language
and reading are organized in the brain. The study focuses on children between 4 and 7 years
old. Children 8 to 12 years old and adults will be studied before the younger children to
test study paradigms appropriate for pre-literate children. The results of this study will
help evaluate the usefulness of MRI in identifying language function and location and may
improve the treatment of children with seizures.
Right-handed, native English-speaking adults and children between 4 and 12 years of age may
be eligible for this study. Candidates will be screened with a routine neurological
examination. Children will also undergo neuropsychological testing (standard tests of
language, memory, perception and attention) either at the screening visit or at a later
time. Parents will fill out a form to identify children with attention deficit and
hyperactivity disorders. These children will be excluded form the study.
All participants will undergo MRI scanning of the brain while performing a task designed to
test a language skill, such as identifying a picture or listening to or reading a word. The
MRI detects changes in blood properties in the areas of the brain that perform each task.
Before the MRI, children will be rehearsed for the tests and will have a session in the
scanner to know what to expect and feel more at ease during the actual test. The time in the
MRI machine is usually between 15 and 20 minutes, but will be no more than 40 minutes for
children 8 to 12 years old, and not more than 20 minutes for younger children. Children may
be requested to have up to five MRI sessions to test different brain functions or confirm
This protocol aims to develop paradigms to identify the neural networks that underlie
language processing in pre/early literate children. These studies are designed to test the
hypothesis that language networks are strongly lateralized and regionally specific in
children younger than eight. The study extends our investigations of paradigm development
and language network organization in adults and older children (8-12) to the 4-7 year age
group. Word reading, object naming, and auditory comprehension paradigms will be adapted for
children 4-7 years old. Paradigm stimuli will be devised from pilot data obtained under
protocol 01-N-181. Paradigms will be piloted in adults and older children (8-12 years)
before young child studies (4-7 years) and will employ the 1.5 and 3T scanners. Paradigms
will be designed to overcome limitations in previous studies: monitoring performance in the
scanner, using 3T and event related designs to improve signal to noise and allow data
analysis in relation to task item response, and improve motion correction, using language
neutral control conditions, and using paradigms appropriate for pre-literate children. Data
will be analyzed on an individual basis with AFNI and group analysis with SPM 99 using
random effect analysis to identify brain regions associated with task performance. These
paradigms will be used as language probes for other protocols designed to study the effect
of acute and chronic disease states (e.g. stroke and epilepsy) on the plasticity of neuronal
organization in language networks. In order to compare two non-invasive language mapping
modes, we will perform magnetoencephalography with auditory category and description
- INCLUSION CRITERIA:
Right handed (Edinburgh Handedness Inventory).
Native English speaker.
Adults and older children (8-12 years) will be recruited to pilot paradigms. Younger
children, aged 4-7 years, are the principal subject of the study.
Medical contraindications to MRI procedures (e.g. pacemakers, cochlear devices, surgical
Technical contraindications to MRI procedures (e.g. no braces (distort image data)).
History of neurologic or psychiatric disease or a learning or attentional disorder.
School performance one year below grade level.
CNS active medications.
Inability to comply with the protocol.
Volunteers will also be asked if they have a history of dry or irritated eyes and informed
this may increase the risk of eye irritation and discomfort in the 3T scanner.