Memory Development in NICU Graduates
In this study, we are interested in the consequences of early brain injury that is caused by a period of oxygen deprivation at birth. We aim to develop tools that can be used to predict which infants are most at risk for later learning and memory problems. We are testing infants who spent time in the NICU due to a period of oxygen deprivation as well as healthy control infants on several memory tasks, including visual recognition, deferred imitation, oddball ERP, and a relational memory eye tracking task.
Eligibility for Study Participation
We are currently recruiting 6-month-old infants who experienced oxygen deprivation at birth, as well as typically-developing 6-month-old infants to serve as controls for our NICU sample.
- Infants: 6 month olds, to be tested at 6 and 12 months of age if possible.
- Born within 2 weeks of due date
At age six and twelve months, this study involves two hour-long sessions at the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience that will be scheduled 24 hours apart. Parents will be with their child at all times. The sessions will be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you and your child.
Jennifer Wagner, Ph.D
Complications during labor and delivery can result in the infant getting less oxygen than is needed for normal brain function. Certain areas of the brain, including those that are critical for learning and memory, are particularly hard hit by lack of oxygen and children who have experienced early oxygen deprivation often have damage to these areas of the brain. Many children who have incurred damage to learning and memory systems very early in life have difficulties with remembering information after a delay, navigating through new environments, and recalling everyday events. However, these impairments are often not noticed until the child goes to school.
In the current project, we aim to use behavioral memory tasks, measures of brain activity and eye tracking to identify children who may be at risk for later learning problems, much earlier than is currently possible. In addition, we aim to determine whether certain patterns of brain damage are more likely to result in learning and memory problems than others.