Characterization of Brain Morphology and Activity Using Functional and Anatomical MRI Contrast

  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Updated on 22 September 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers


The purpose of this investigation is to develop improved magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques and hardware for studying brain function. MRI is a diagnostic tool that provides information about brain chemistry and physiology. This study will evaluate new MRI methods for monitoring blood flow to regions of the brain in response to simple tasks. The MRI machine used in this study is more powerful than those in most hospitals, permitting a higher visual resolution.

Normal healthy volunteers over 18 years old may be eligible for this study. Candidates will be screened with a medical history and questionnaire, and a neurological examination. Study participants will have a yearly MRI scan. For this procedure, the subject lies on a stretcher that is moved into a donut-shaped machine with a strong magnetic field. A lightweight circular or rectangular coil a device that improves the quality of the images may be placed on the head. The scan time varies from 20 minutes to 3 hours; most scans last between 45 and 90 minutes. During the scan, the subject may perform simple tasks, such as listening to tapes, tapping a finger, moving a hand, watching a screen, or smelling a fragrance. More complex tasks may require thinking about tones or pictures and responding to them by pressing buttons.

Information from this study will be used to develop better imaging methods that will, in turn, permit a greater understanding of normal and abnormal brain behaviors.



The goal of this protocol is to improve spatial resolution and contrast in MRI studies of brain anatomy and function, by developing novel hardware, and image acquisition and reconstruction techniques. Specifically, by improving MRI image quality and manipulating MRI contrast, we aim to better characterize and quantify structural, chemical, and blood flow variations across the brain, and study their relationship with neuronal activity. For this purpose, we will develop and optimize novel MRI techniques on normal, healthy volunteers, and combine these with EEG and recording of other physiological signals.

Study Population

Any healthy, male or female volunteer 18 years of age and older; the subjects must be capable of understanding the procedures and requirements of this study and be willing to sign an informed consent document.


This is a technical development study design to develop and evaluate new MR technology for performing MRI and functional MRI in the CNS with novel contrasts and with a high spatial resolution.

Outcome Measures

The primary outcome of this study will be the ability to acquire anatomical and functional images of the human brain with high spatial resolution, i.e. 200-300 micron and 750-1000 micron respectively. In addition, developed techniques will allow the robust measurement of specific tissue properties, including diffusion, structural anisotropy, iron and myelin content, perfusion, and metabolite concentrations. The relative merits of blood flow and blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) functional MRI (fMRI) techniques, and their particular spatial and temporal signal characteristics will be established. It will be determined whether information valuable to interpret BOLD fMRI can be derived from EEG and other physiological signals

Condition Healthy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Adult, Brain Mapping, fMRI
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT00004577
SponsorNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Last Modified on22 September 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

years of age and older
in good general health
able to understand the procedures and requirements and give informed consent

Exclusion Criteria

All Subjects will undergo a neurological physical and answer the Healthy volunteer form
and the most-recent version of the NMR safety screening
has any metal implant or objects of unknown identity or composition, or if it s known
A subject will be excluded if he/she
to be non-compatible with MRI, such as pacemakers, medication pumps, aneurysm clips
has claustrophobia
metallic prosthesis (such as heart valves or cochlear implants), certain orthopedic
cannot lie comfortably for up to 120 minutes
implants (pins and rods), shrapnel, or small metal fragments in the eye
underwent brain surgery or suffered a head trauma
has migraines that require medication
has a psychiatric disorder (defined by the DSM-5)
has a neurological lesion or history of neurological disorders
has known hearing problems
is pregnant
has permanent eye liner
has a diagnosable substance dependence
has medical problems such as, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, pulmonary or airway
a member of the NINDS Laboratory of Functional and Molecular Imaging
disease, heart failure, coronary artery disease, or history of sleep apnea
The contraindications to MRI at the various field strengths are almost identical, except
the 7 T also excludes subjects with a ferromagnetic dental crown or a bridge
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How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
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Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

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