The goal of this K25 Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award is to enable the candidate to develop expertise in the fields of pediatric audiology, biostatistics, and functional neuroanatomy, in the context of a research plan investigating cortical reorganization in children with severe-to-profound unilateral sensorineural hearing loss (USNHL) using functional MRI (fMRI) techniques specifically designed for use in a hearing-impaired pediatric population. The five-year training plan involves a structured curriculum of coursework, seminars, and independent study, under the supervision of a mentorship and advisory team which includes an interdisciplinary group of researchers with expertise in functional neuroimaging, functional neuroanatomy and brain development, unilateral hearing impairment, pediatric audiology, clinical management of hearing-impaired children, and central auditory processing in children. The training and research experience provided by this K25 Mentored Career Development Award will enable the candidate to successfully transition from a background in physics to become an independent biomedical researcher with special application to neuroimaging of auditory function and processing in children. The research plan involves three specific aims: 1) mapping differences in cortical representation for baselevel auditory and language processing between children with USNHL and normal controls;2) differentiating performance in central auditory processing tasks and academic achievement between children with USNHL and normal controls;and 3) associating deficits in central auditory processing in children with USNHL with deficits in brain functional connectivity. The relevance of the research to public health is the general knowledge gained about neuroplasticity in children with USNHL, and whether performance deficits for central auditory processing tasks such as interpreting speech-in-noise are associated with persistent deficits in the necessary functional connectivity in the brain for these tasks. Should the cortical reorganization following USNHL be insufficient to compensate for the lack of binaural sensory input for central auditory processing tasks such as interpreting speech-innoise, children with USNHL may have a greater need for remediation techniques such as FM amplification systems than previously recognized.
|Schmithorst, Vincent J; Holland, Scott K; Plante, Elena (2011) Diffusion tensor imaging reveals white matter microstructure correlations with auditory processing ability. Ear Hear 32:156-67|
|Schmithorst, Vincent J (2009) Higher-order contrast functions improve performance of independent component analysis of fMRI data. J Magn Reson Imaging 29:242-9|