Research at the FNNDSC addresses critical needs in the pediatric population:
- Children are different than adults: Children's brains go through dramatic changes in size and composition, with associated physiological changes. Children need technology developed for the unique size and physiology of their brains.
- Children's brains are not fully "online": It is impossible, for example, to test an infant's language function, so it is important to develop imaging approaches that permit clinicians to evaluate the structures and the physiological health of regions that will promote developing functions. This will allow clinicians to better predict function in individual children.
- Children's brains are much more plastic than adult brains: To optimize the potential of each individual child, safe methods are needed to monitor brain growth and development as well as response to therapy. The multiple modalities employed by the center are safe and provide the most sophisticated means of monitoring brain heath.
- The development of a child's brain is an extremely complex process: A multidisciplinary center, where clinicians and scientists can come together and work with a common set of tools, is necessary to improve knowledge of brain development.