Welcome to the Research Study for Infants: Language and

Brain Development!


Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our study!

Dr. Nadine Gaab teaches her daughter, Viella, about the brain

    Developmental dyslexia affects 5-17% of school-aged children, making it the most common learning disability. It is characterized by difficulties with reading and spelling, but does not affect measures of intelligence, such as IQ. Researchers have shown that the brains of children and adults diagnosed with dyslexia are organized differently than those of other people the same age, and have also provided evidence that susceptibility to dyslexia may run in families.

    This study is investigating whether these differences can be observed in the brains of infants with a family history of dyslexia. A family history means that you have a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed with developmental dyslexia by a doctor or psychologist. We would like to learn what age brain differences first begin to appear in people who are at risk for dyslexia, and whether they can be used to identify children at risk in infancy. The goal of this study is to provide new information to help us learn to diagnose dyslexia in infancy, which could help us develop more effective prevention and treatment strategies for susceptible infants before they go through certain crucial stages of brain development in the first two years of life.

    To reach this goal, we will compare the brain images of infants with and without a family history of developmental dyslexia using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). MRI is a safe and completely non-invasive method that we use to take pictures of the brain. We will utilize age-specific behavioral techniques and innovative MRI technology in order to safely acquire these brain images without using any sedation or anesthesia. Although sedation or anesthesia is commonly used with infants who need an MRI exam for clinical reasons, we hope that this study will promote the use of the techniques that we have developed so that other hospitals and research institutions can also learn to carry out infant MRI without using sedation or anesthesia. We believe that this will ultimately make the exam much safer and more cost-effective for patients and their families, as well as hospitals.