Pediatric brain imaging holds significant promise for understanding neurodevelopment. However, the requirement to remain still inside a noisy, enclosed scanner remains a challenge. Verbal or visual descriptions of the process, and/or practice in MRI simulators are the norm in preparing children. Yet, the factors predictive of successfully obtaining neuroimaging data remain unclear. We examined data from 250 children (6-12 years, 197 males) with autism and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Children completed systematic MRI simulator training aimed to habituate to the scanner environment and minimize head motion. An MRI session comprised multiple structural, resting-state, task and diffusion scans. Of the 201 children passing simulator training and attempting scanning, nearly all (94%) successfully completed the first structural scan in the sequence, and 88% also completed the following resting state fMRI scan. The number of successful scans decreased as the sequence progressed. Multivariate analyses revealed that age was the strongest predictor of successful scans in the session, with younger children having lower success rates. After age, sensorimotor atypicalities contributed most to prediction. Results provide insights on factors to consider in designing pediatric brain imaging protocols.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience