Read about our current studies below. If you are interested in participating in a study, email
BRAIC.Lab@boystown.org or visit
this page to learn more about participation or sign up to participate.
Developmental Brain Changes in Adolescents
Adolescence is broadly defined as the transition from childhood to adulthood. It is a key period for neural changes, including maturation of the brain's cognitive networks. This period is also associated with increased vulnerability to psychopathology. The incidence of psychiatric disorders increases exponentially from adolescence to adulthood, with 75% of cases being diagnosed before the age of 24 years. It is therefore critical to understand the impact of adolescent development on brain network architecture and the mechanisms that may lead to the onset of a mental health disorder. In this context, the aim of this project is to combine structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data with cognitive and behavioral information to provide an integrative view of the brain networks changes throughout adolescence and early adulthood. By mapping the brain networks in this critical age window, this work has the potential to elucidate how alteration of the brain networks contributes to psychiatric traits and risk to develop psychiatric disorders in adolescents and young adults.
For this project, we are currently recruiting healthy volunteers between the age of 12 and 25. This study involves one visit during which you will play some computer games and have a free brain MRI scan. Financial compensation is provided.
G. E. Doucet, S. Baker, T. W. Wilson, M. Kurz (2021) Weaker connectivity of the cortical networks is linked with the uncharacteristic gait in youth with cerebral palsy. Brain Sciences. 11(8), 1065.
D. A. Moser, M. Dricu, R. Kotikalapudi,
G. E. Doucet, T. Aue (2021) Reduced network integration in default mode and executive networks is associated with social and personal optimism biases. Human Brain Mapping. 42 (9): 2893-2906.
P. Vidal-Ribas, D. Janiri,
G. E. Doucet, N. Pornpattananangkul, D. Nielson, S. Frangou, A. Stringaris. (2021) Multimodal neuroimaging and suicidal thoughts and behaviors in a US population-based sample of school-aged children. American Journal of Psychiatry. 178 (4):321-332.
A. Modabbernia, D. Janiri,
G. E. Doucet, A. Reichenberg, S. Frangou. (2021) Multivariate patterns of brain-behavior -environment associations in the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. Biological Psychiatry. 89:510-520.
Developmental Language Disorder
Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is a high-incidence disability affecting 7%, or roughly 3 million school children, in the United States. These children present with vocabulary deficits but also some level of executive dysfunction. It is therefore essential to understand the underlying biological mechanisms. One approach is to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) since it is non-invasive and is relatively well tolerated in children with training. However, until now, DLD has been largely ignored by neuroimaging studies, which limits our capacity to understand the origins of this disorder and develop new interventions. Our project aims to map the major brain networks in children with DLD and establish the brain mechanisms underlying the disorder, which could inform us on new treatment option and targets.
For this project, we are currently recruiting children with or without language disorders between the age of 7 and 13. This study involves one or two visits during which you will play some computer games and have a free brain MRI scan. Financial compensation is provided.
Brain Reorganization in Healthy Aging
Extensive literature has demonstrated that the spatial and functional organization of brain regions shows age-related alterations in later life. The aim of this project is to combine brain functional imaging data with cognitive and behavioral information to identify the role of spatial and functional reconfigurations of the brain networks to predict cognitive decline and variability associated with aging.
The successful completion of this project will provide an integrative view of the reconfiguration of the major brain networks across cognitive states in healthy aging and will quantify its association with cognitive decline in older healthy individuals. By mapping the brain functional connectome underlying late adulthood, this work has the potential to elucidate how dysfunction of the brain networks contributes to cognitive aging in healthy and neurodegenerative conditions.
G. E. Doucet, N. Hamlin, A. West, J. A. Kruse, D. A. Moser, T. W. Wilson (2022). Multivariate Patterns of Brain-Behavior Associations Across the Adult Lifespan. Aging. https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.203815
S. Bouhassoun, N. Poirel, N. Hamlin,
G. E. Doucet (2022) The forest, the trees, and the leaves across adulthood: Age-related changes on a visual search task containing three-level hierarchical stimuli. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-021-02438-3
A. West, N. Hamlin, S. Frangou, T. W. Wilson,
G. E. Doucet (2022) Person-based similarity index for cognition and its neural correlates in late adulthood: Implications for cognitive reserve. Cerebral Cortex. 32:397-407.
Brain Atlas for Late Adulthood
Older individuals represent 15% of the United States population, and this is expected to exceed 20% by 2050. It is therefore critical that we improve our understanding of the physiology of healthy brain aging and the mechanisms that may lead to dysfunction in older adults. It is well accepted that the brain is functionally organized into multiple interacting networks. The reliable and reproducible identification of brain functional networks crucially depends on the use of reference functional atlases. Extensive literature has demonstrated that the spatial and functional organization of the brain connectome shows age-related alterations in later life. Yet, there is currently no reference brain functional atlas derived from older adults, and this may undermine the validity and reliability of neuroimaging research in late adulthood. In this context, this project aims to construct and validate the first ever functional reference brain atlas for adults above the age of 55 years and to demonstrate its value in predicting cognitive function in healthy older adults and in individuals with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment. This project has the potential to improve the characterization of the brain functional connectome and its links to cognition in late adulthood.
G. E. Doucet, L. Labache, P. Thompson, M. Joliot, S. Frangou (2021) Atlas55+: A brain functional atlas for resting-state networks for late adulthood. Cerebral Cortex. 31: 1719–1731.
G. E. Doucet, W. H. Lee, S. Frangou (2019) Evaluation of the spatial variability in the major resting-state networks across human brain functional atlases. Human Brain Mapping.40:4577-4587.
G. Doucet, M. Naveau, L. Petit, N. Delcroix, L. Zago, F. Crivello, G. Jobard, N. Tzourio-Mazoyer, B. Mazoyer, E. Mellet and M. Joliot. (2011) Brain activity at rest: A multi-scale hierarchical functional organization. Journal of Neurophysiology 105(6):2753-63.