Arrowsmith Brain Imaging Study


We’re still recruiting interested right-handed 9-17 year olds who are not currently or have not previously been enrolled in the Arrowsmith Program to participate in this study.

This research will be conducted at the University of British Columbia. If you are eligible and decide to participate, you will complete three MRI scans and two sessions of cognitive and educational testing over a one year period. Each MRI takes approximately 2 hours (with one hour of brain scanning), and each cognitive and educational testing sessions takes between 4-6 hours.

Who Should Not Participate in this Study?  Your child should not participate in this study if s/he has a history of brain damage, neurodegenerative disorder, head trauma, a psychiatric diagnosis, or a history of substance abuse.  If s/he is younger than 9 or older than 17 then they should not participate. If s/he is pregnant, claustrophobic (have a fear of enclosed or narrow spaces) or does not meet the MRI criteria s/he should not participate.

As of May 2016, we’ve tested 24 children at the 1-year time point, and have 25 children returning for their 1-year follow-up testing throughout 2016.

In addition to completing cognitive and achievement testing, and scanning new recruits, we are focusing on processing the baseline data that we’ve collected. We’re currently preparing papers on baseline functional connectivity in the brain, and relationships between cognitive/achievement abilities and brain structure/function.

The purpose of this study is to determine how the brain may reorganize in response to educational programs for children with learning disabilities and to compare any reorganization to typical development in children who have not participated in these programs. Your child is being invited to participate because s/he is between the ages of 9 and 17 and is right handed. The results of this study may be useful for understanding changes in the brain that may be stimulated by educational programs.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a way of looking at the structure, functioning and/or chemistry of the brain.  Your child has been invited to undergo a MRI scan in order to measure how participation in educational programs may alter the connections in, and function of, the brain.  We believe that this study will help us to understand how plastic or changeable the brain is.  This test is not designed to diagnose any other brain disease.  However, if during the course of the scan something looks suspicious we will refer the results to your personal physician for follow-up. The brain imaging part of this study will take place in the UBC 3T Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine.  In addition we will ask your child to complete several tests that will assess her/his thinking and educational abilities.  These tests will take place at UBC in the Brain Behaviour Lab and can be scheduled in one or two days depending on what is most convenient for you.

If you are interested, or would like to learn more about this study please contact Katherine White at: or (604) 827-3369.