Current Studies

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

Studies in Children

We are using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study migraine headache, post-concussive headache, and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

1. Migraine Headache Research Program

Study goals:
We have several projects that study pediatric headaches in collaboration with the Headache Clinic in Waltham, Department of Neurology and Pain Division. We are interested in episodic and chronic migraine headaches. Studying headaches is important to us because we understand how debilitating they can be.

Our Approach:
Our studies utilize magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to better understand the pediatric migraine brain. Our migraine headache research focuses on understanding differences pediatric migraine sufferers and healthy subjects. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at migraine@childrens.harvard.edu.

Who is eligible for this study?

Study Visit Overview:
The migraine MRI study is composed of 4 parts (paperwork, neurological exam, quantitative sensory testing, and MRI) and lasts at most three hours.

During the Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST), we test thermal pain thresholds using a Medoc Pathway System. A temperature thermode is held to the hand and temple. Using a computer mouse, the child clicks when the temperature first becomes painful. There is no chance of burns as the machine is limited to safe temperatures.

The imaging portion of this study involves a 55 minute MRI.  Contrast is not used.  The child just lies in the scanner.  The child can stop the scan at any time by squeezing a ball he or she holds during the scan. At the end of the scan, the child will be given a picture of their brain.

What we have learned about migraine headaches:
Neuron 2012
Cephalagia 2012
Cerebral Cortex 2011 
Current Pain and Headache Reports 2011
Molecular Pain 2011
Headache 2010
PLoS One 2008

2. Post-Concussive Headache Research Program

Study goals:
We have several projects that study pediatric headaches in collaboration with the Headache Clinic in Waltham, Department of Neurology and Pain Division. We are interested in episodic and chronic migraine headaches. Studying headaches is important to us because we understand how debilitating they can be.

Our Approach:
Our studies utilize magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to better understand the post-concussive headache brain. Our headache research focuses on understanding differences over time between post-concussive headache sufferers and healthy subjects. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at migraine@childrens.harvard.edu.

Who is eligible for this study?:

Study visit overview:

Compensation:

3. CRPS - Complex Regional Pain Syndrom (Type I and II)

Study goals:
We are hoping this study will teach us more about the brain’s role in the perception of pain in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).  This information will hopefully lead us to a better understanding of CRPS and possibly even better treatments. 

Our Approach:
Our studies utilize functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to better understand the brain of children and adolescents with CRPS.  Our research focuses on understanding the differences between children and adolescents with CRPS and healthy subjects.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at CRPS@childrens.harvard.edu

Who is eligible for this study?
Children, adolescents, and young adults between the ages of 9-20 with CRPS I or II in only one lower extremity OR healthy children, adolescents, and young adults between the ages of 9-20 who do not have CRPS.

Participants cannot have dental braces or permanent retainers.

Study visit overview:
Each CRPS fMRI study session is composed of 2 parts, lasting up to 3 hours in total. In addition to the initial visit, participants may be invited to return for up to 3 more study sessions within the following year (at 1-2 months, 4-6 months, and 12-14 months). 

The initial part involves paperwork, a neurological exam, and quantitative sensory testing. During the sensory testing part, we test the participant’s sensitivity to cold temperature and touch in their affected limb using a Medoc Pathway System. To test sensitivity to cold, a special machine is placed on the affected limb. The machine will get progressively colder. Using a computer mouse, the participant clicks when the temperature first feels uncomfortable.

This study also involves a 60-minute fMRI scan. Contrast is not used.  For some of the scans, the participant simply lies in the scanner. Sensory testing (with cold temperature and brushing, as was done in part 1) is also done while in the scanner.  Lastly, participants are asked to look at pictures of faces with different emotional expressions while in the scanner.  Participants can communicate with study staff or ask to stop the scan at any time by squeezing a ball that they hold during the scan.

If the participant is female, at each study session she will be asked to give a urine sample for a pregnancy test before entering the scanner.  Even though there are no known risks for a pregnant woman or her unborn child due to fMRI, many hospitals require a pregnancy test of all female patients as an added safety measure.  The results of the pregnancy test will only be given to the participant and the study staff.  The results will not be released to anyone else without the child’s permission.

Compensation:
At each study session, participants will receive a CD with images of their brain, a $50 gift cheque, and two meal vouchers for the hospital cafeteria.

What we have learned about CRPS:
http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/131/7/1854.long


Studies in Adults

We are using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to study brain activity in adults.

1. Optical Imaging of Pain and Discomfort

Study Goals:
Our goal is to analyze whether near infrared spectroscopy could be used as an alternative to MRI to detect brain activity. The purpose of this study is to test a new way to evaluate pain.  We will use a new method called diffuse optical imaging, or DOI.  If you are interested in finding out more, please contact optics-sudies@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu.

Who is eligible for this study?:
Right-handed men between the ages of 18 and 40 are invited to participate in a research study of a new system designed to measure brain activity.Participants must be non-smokers, weigh less than 285 pounds, and have no history of claustrophobia or anxiety disorder.  In addition, they must not be taking any prescription medications.

Study visit overview:
The study consists of a series of measurements taken as heat and/or electrical stimuli are applied to the face, knee, and/or hand (the stimuli will be enough to be uncomfortable, but not enough to physically harm the skin).The study will take place at Massachusetts General Hospital East at the Charlestown Navy Yard and may consist of one or two visits.  The study consists of one or two visits of 2 to 2 ½ hours each.

Compensation:
Subjects will be compensated $50 for each study visit as well as a $10 reimbursement for parking.

2. PET-fMRI measures of Analgesia and Migraine

Study Goals:
We are using combined Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to evaluate the effects of a pain killer on the brain's function.

Who is eligible for this study?:
We are seeking healthy participants or subjects with documented episodic migraine.  Subjects should be right-handed, aged 21-49, non-smokers who have no metal implants and are not currently on any medications or drugs. Please contact Mike at mihayl.petkov@childrens.harvard.edu if interested in the study.

Study visit overview:
This research study requires two visits to the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in Charlestown. The first visit will last 2 hours, the second visit will last 8 hours and will include blood-draws and a PET-MRI session.

Compensation:
Subjects will be compensated $300 in the form of a gift card.


Request an Appointment

If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. This form should not be used in an emergency.

Patient Information
Date of Birth:
Contact Information
Appointment Details
Send RequestIf you do not see the specialty you are looking for, please call us at: 617-355-6000.International visitors should call International Health Services at +1-617-355-5209.
Please complete all required fields

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

Thank you.

Your request has been successfully submitted

You will be contacted within 1 business day.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call:

617-355-6000 +1-617-355-6000
close
Find a Doctor
Search by Clinician's Last Name or Specialty:
Select by Location:
Search by First Letter of Clinician's Last Name: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
BrowseSearch
Condition & Treatments
Search for a Condition or Treatment:
Show Items Starting With: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
View allSearch
Locations
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
Close