This application is written in response to RFA-DA-02-001 entitled """"""""Neuroimaging Technology Development to Assess Brain and Behavior in Pediatric Populations"""""""". We propose to conduct in vivo anatomic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with structure-specific volumetric and surface area measurements and quantitative whole brain proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) in 6-10 adults (as pilots) and 48 preadolescent children (24 cocaine exposed and 24 unexposed). Subjects will be studied at age 12 years and matched for group status, sex, and handedness. The children, currently ages 9-111/2 years, are active participants in the Miami Prenatal Cocaine Study, a large, single-site longitudinal assessment of prenatally cocaine-exposed and noncocaine-exposed children prospectively enrolled at birth and followed serially with physical and neurodevelopmental assessments within multiple domains.
Specific aims of the neuroimaging study are 1.) To develop and implement a protocol for the successful performance of 3 Tesla brain anatomic MRI with structure-specific volumetric and surface area measurements and in vivo quantitative whole brain MRSI in unsedated preadolescent children. This will be accomplished by creating a child-sensitive environment and research protocol for preparing and supporting the child for the proposed assessments. 2.) To develop optimal acquisition parameters for the performance of the MRI/MRSI studies in preadolescent children on 3 T equipment with special attention to reduction of image acquisition time and diminution of signal to noise artifact, and 3.) To conduct a pilot study to determine the utility of the combined MRI/MRSI and neuropsychological measures in the assessment of long-term outcome of preadolescent children exposed in utero to cocaine. Special emphasis will be placed on the relationship of MRI/MRSI results to language functioning as well as other key domains of neuropsychological functioning. The interpretations of the anatomic MRI studies with structure-specific volumetric and surface area measurements and the in vivo quantitative whole brain proton MRSI with spectra obtained at multiple locations within the brain will provide a wealth of neuroimaging data for correlation with the comprehensive neuropsychological assessments of these children. Preadolescence is a critical phase to study the longterm effects of in utero cocaine exposure within the complexities of the family, school, and community environments because psychosocial and environmental stresses may unmask previously undetected neuropsychological deficits related to language functioning, attentional processing and executive functions. The neuroimaging technology proposed in this application may also be useful in the assessment of transitions to active drug use and other high risk behaviors by preadolescents and adolescents.