The Infant Perception-Action Study involves toddlers under a year of age. The purpose of this study is to understand how the brain functions and how it develops in infants with and without Down syndrome. Namely, it focuses on activity of mirror neurons which activate when we watch someone else perform a movement or watch someone express an emotion. It links perception and action and helps us understand other people. EEG brain imaging technology is used to record mirror neuron activations and compare typical and Down syndrome children.
The risk of injury in young athletes is of particular concern as the brain is still developing from childhood to adolescence, and may be more susceptible to trauma. The Concussion in Youth Hockey Study aims to develop imaging “signatures” of concussion. We will combine two cutting edge brain imaging tools – A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) to capture changes in the microstructure of the brain and the underlying activity of brain networks in young elite hockey players who have sustained a concussion.
Listen to Dr. Naznin Virji-Babul Discuss the Concussion in Youth Hockey Study on CBC Radio!
Previous studies show that at 40 years of age, almost all subjects with Down Syndrome (DS) have neuropathological changes that meet the pathological criteria for Alzheimer's Disease (AD). DS is therefore an extremely useful model to study the preclinical stages of AD as middle aged individuals can be identified prior to any clinical signs of dementia. Aging in Down Syndrome: A Model for Preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease is a study that uses MEG data to compute measures of functional connectivity that may be useful in predicting the onset of dementia.