July-August 2017
Introduction
Figure 6 from Paydar

Advanced Imaging in Pediatric Neurodevelopment

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Mai-Lan Ho

Human neurodevelopment is an incredibly complex and incompletely understood process, with sequential events beginning in the embryonic/fetal period and continuing throughout infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Characteristic changes at each stage of life are reflected by progression through successive neurologic and psychosocial milestones. This coordinated maturation occurs despite rapid fluctuations in growth and metabolism, highlighting the intricate interactions between genetics, epigenetics, and the environment.

This past century has seen an explosion in neuroscientific understanding, fueled by numerous advances in science, engineering, and medicine. Human embryology and animal studies have provided us with a general understanding of macrostructural processes, including landmarks for neurulation, sulcation, and myelination during fetal and postnatal life. Microstructural processes, such as neuroepithelial progenitor cell migration and differentiation in utero or synaptic connectivity and pruning from birth through young adulthood, are less well-characterized.

What has largely eluded discovery is the precise relationship between central nervous system structure and higher cognition (ie, “brain versus mind”). The developing pediatric brain contains answers to several unsolved mysteries such as neuroplasticity, neuropsychiatric disorders, and executive functioning. Current investigations into human neurodevelopment are being performed at multiple levels, ranging from molecular and cellular neurobiology to tissues and organ systems. Integration of “bottom-up” and “top-down” approaches is made possible by emerging fields such as systems biology, genomics, and clinomics.

As neuroradiologists in a rapidly evolving health care … more »

Pediatrics

Diffusional Kurtosis Imaging of the Developing Brain

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Sarah Milla

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Amir Paydar

In 2011, we began our investigation into the detection of microstructural changes that occur in both the white matter (WM) and gray matter (GM) of the developing pediatric brain using an MRI diffusion technique called diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI). This technique is an … more »

Pediatrics

Diffusion Tensor Imaging of the Normal Cervical and Thoracic Pediatric Spinal Cord

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Feroze B. Mohamed

My interest in the use of diffusion tensor imaging to diagnose spinal cord injury was spurred by a casual conversation over dinner with Dr. M.J. Mulcahey (who went on to become my collaborator) regarding her work on children with spinal cord injury. During this conversation, I was moved to learn about the heartbreaking … more »

Pediatrics

Gray Matter Growth Is Accompanied by Increasing Blood Flow and Decreasing Apparent Diffusion Coefficient during Childhood

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Nils Daniel Forkert

Children, especially within the first few years of development, experience rapid and considerable changes of the macro- and microstructure of the brain. These changes include rapid growth of the brain tissue, myelination patterns and white matter connectivity alterations, and cerebral blood flow changes. Although age-related alterations of the corresponding imaging biomarkers are well-described … more »

Pediatrics

Elucidating Metabolic Maturation in the Healthy Fetal Brain Using ¹H-MR Spectroscopy

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Catherine Limperopoulos

Our research interests focus on developing leading-edge, noninvasive MRI tools that are capable of identifying early warning signs of a fetus who is at risk for brain injury before that injury is consolidated. The long-term goal of our research is to translate these tools rapidly into clinical practice and develop early MR imaging biomarkers … more »

Functional

Microstructure of the Default Mode Network in Preterm Infants

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Duan Xu

The human brain develops at an incredible rate during the first several years of life. During this period, the brain is extremely plastic as it is vulnerable. My technical team complements the efforts of the clinical team led by Drs. Jim Barkovich and Donna Ferriero to leverage imaging in order to improve diagnosis and … more »