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DCNU in the News December 2013

Sunday 8 December 2013 More...

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Journal July

Latest Quarterly Journal of:
Cognitive Neuroscience

(Volume 7: January 2014)

2012 Impact Factor: 3.160


Neuroimaging Investigations of Language in Children to help with Neurosurgical Decisions

Funding Body: Child Health Research Appeal (CHRAT) and UCL IMPACT


Type of Study: Studentship (Ms Louise Croft)

Principal Investigator:

Dr Torsten Baldeweg (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health)

Co-Principal Investigator:

Dr Peter Rankin (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health)

Collaborators (listed alphabetically):

Tina Banks (Research Radiographer, Imaging and Biophysics Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health)

Professor J Helen Cross (Neurosciences Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health & Honorary Consultant Paediatric Neurology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children)

Dr Frédérique Liégeois (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health)

Professor Faraneh Vargha-Khadem, FMedSci (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Child Health and Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, Great Ormond Street Hospital)

Summary of Project:

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for Children is a leading centre for epilepsy treatment, carrying out over 70% of paediatric epilepsy surgery in the UK since 1992. Neurosurgery is considered when a child has severe intractable epilepsy, i.e. does not respond to anticonvulsants. Intractable epilepsy is often caused by a structural abnormality in the brain and can potentially resolve if the abnormality is surgically removed. However, severe epilepsy can cause the child’s cognition (e.g. intelligence, language and memory) to develop abnormally in the brain. For example, if the brain region that is usually responsible for language is affected by the epilepsy then another region may take on this responsibility. Therefore an important part of the pre-surgical diagnostic investigations is the mapping of essential cognitive functions to brain regions using functional neuroimaging, so that the neurosurgeon does not remove regions that are supporting cognitive development. Functional neuroimaging of language has become an important non-invasive tool in these investigations. The aim of the current project is to develop reliable neuroimaging methods for the localisation of language areas in the brain, suitable for children of different ages and abilities. The student will use state of the art neuroimaging methods in healthy children in order to study how different language functions (reading, speech comprehension) are localised to specific brain areas, aiming to apply these methods to clinical populations at a later stage.