Data on the safety of repeated MRI in healthy children

Academic Article


  • Purpose To address the question of the safety of MRI for research in normal, healthy children. We examined MRI, neurocognitive and biometric data collected in a group of healthy, normally developing children who have participated in a 10 year longitudinal fMRI study. Materials and methods Thirty-one healthy children ranging in age from 5 to 7 years were enrolled between 2000 and 2002 and were tested yearly as part of a longitudinal study of normal language development. Twenty-eight of these children have completed multiple neuroimaging, neurocognitive and biometric exams. These children ranged in age from 5 to 18 years during the course of the study and were exposed to up to 10 annual MRI scans. Linear regression of the IQ (WISC-III) (Wechsler, 1991), executive function (BRIEF) (Gioia et al., 2002), and language (OWLS) (Carrow-Woolfolk, 1995) measures was performed against the number of years of exposure to MRI in the study. Body mass index (BMI) (Ogden et al., 2006) was also examined as a function of years and compared with normative values. Results The WISC-III Full Scale (FSIQ) in our longitudinal cohort was higher than the average at baseline. There was no significant change over time in mean FSIQ p = 0.80, OWLS p = 0.16, or BRIEF p = 0.67. Similarly, over 10 years there were no significant changes in the Coding subtest of WISC III and height and body mass index did not deviate from norms (50th percentile). Conclusions Examination of neurocognitive and biometric data from a decade-long, longitudinal fMRI study of normal language development in this small, longitudinal sample of healthy children in the age range of 5 to 18 years, who received up to 10 MRI scans, provides scientific evidence to support the belief that MRI poses minimal risk for use in research with healthy children. © 2014 The Authors.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Holland SK; Altaye M; Robertson S; Byars AW; Plante E; Szaflarski JP
  • Start Page

  • 526
  • End Page

  • 530
  • Volume

  • 4