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Teenager Brain Imaging Study

Brain research study at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute

Explore your mind, see your brain, and help advance health research

Virginia Tech scientists are recruiting teenagers, ages 13 to 14.5, in Southwest Virginia to participate in a multi-year brain research study. The research will be conducted at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke, Virginia.

Teenagers enrolled in the research study will visit the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke, Virginia each year for three years. During each visit the volunteers will receive a brain scan using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These safe, non-invasive scanners use powerful magnets to detect blood oxygen levels – an indirect measure of neural activity that helps the researchers see which brain regions are engaged during decision-making tasks.

The study participants will be asked to play computer games, participate in interviews, and fill out surveys about themselves. All information shared with the study staff will be kept confidential. The study can be completed comfortably in 1 or 2 visits (totaling about 5-7 hours) at each timepoint over the 3-year period.

Teenager before MRI at Fralin Biomedical
A teenage research participant prepares for their brain scan with a research assistant at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. This research was conducted for a different study.
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute brain scanning
The view that the laboratory technician and researchers see while you are in the MRI.

Participants will be compensated for their time at a rate of $20/hour for tasks completed outside the MRI scanner and $25/hour for tasks completed inside the scanner, plus up to an additional $30 based on task performance. Travel to the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute will be compensated at $20/hour. Transportation, or transportation assistance, is also available if needed.

The researchers will use a combination of a safe and non-invasive imaging technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at your brain. X-rays and CT scans are not used.

What is fMRI? 

MRI machines use powerful magnets to rotate protons in your body's water molecules, allowing scientists to visualize structures in your brain and measure blood flow. Volunteers lie inside the MRI while their brains are scanned. Read more about fMRI

Researchers at Virginia Tech want to understand the brain's role in how teenagers make decisions. Dr. Pearl Chiu and Dr. Brooks Casas received funding from the National Institutes of Health to conduct this research.

Interested in learning more? 

Please contact us with any questions you have, and submit a volunteer form. A research team member will follow-up with you after your form is submitted.

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