Imaging Brain Fluids During Breathing

  • End date
    May 1, 2026
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Boston University Charles River Campus
Updated on 5 April 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers


This study will perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measurements of hemodynamics and cerebrospinal fluid flow across breathing tasks and during breath-locked neuromodulation.


Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow is essential for brain health, as it clears waste products from the brain. This study will investigate how breathing affects the flow of CSF around the brain. The investigators will perform high resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans in participants who are breathing in specific patterns or performing simple tasks and test the effects on CSF flow. Participants will complete an imaging study visit in which the investigators will image their brain activity while they perform simple tasks, including paced breathing tasks. The MRI scans will take place in the 7 Tesla MRI scanner at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Condition Healthy
Treatment Transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation, Breathing task
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05180981
SponsorBoston University Charles River Campus
Last Modified on5 April 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Adult age 18-70 years

Exclusion Criteria

No ferrous metal implanted in head or body
No history of major head trauma
No neurological or psychiatric disorder
Not using medication that affects brain function
No implanted electronic devices (e.g. pacemaker)
No implant that poses an MR contraindication
Not pregnant, suspect they are pregnant, or seeking to become pregnant
Not claustrophobic
No piercings or jewelry that cannot be removed
Does not weigh more than 250 pounds
Normal or contact-corrected normal vision
Exclusion for transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) arm
Conditions of skin or anatomy that affect left auricle or forehead skin and could impact placement of electrodes for tVNS or forehead stimulation
Diagnosis of significant cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease [e.g. congestive heart failure, stroke, cardiac conduction disorders (including: bundle branch block, heart block, long Q-T syndrome), history of asystole or non-sustained ventricular tachycardia
Bradycardia (defined as resting heart rate <50 bpm)
Hypotension defined as blood pressure <90/60 mmHg
Clear my responses

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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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