The Washington University Neonatal Development Research (WUNDER) Lab studies early brain development and neurodevelopmental outcomes in healthy and at-risk infants. 

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For a full explanation of our studies, click here!


HEALthy Brain Cognitive Development (HBCD)

The purpose of this research study is to investigate the impact of early life exposure to different substances on brain and behavioral development across childhood. 

Want to know more about HBCD? Check out our HBCD Brochure. 

Questions? Contact Janika Grimlund OR Rabab Ahmed

Pregnancy

You may be recruited in your second trimester, then continue follow-up visits until your child is 6 months old. 

Recruitment

When you are recruited, you will be randomly assigned to 1 of 3 methods to keep in contact with you. 

  1. Standard follow-up
  2. App based communication via your smart phone. 
  3. Enhanced Care Coordination

Once assigned to a group, you will complete all of the activities described below. 

What Will I Do?

During you second trimester:

  • You will complete several surveys and give a stool/saliva/urine sample. 

During your third trimester: 

  • You will complete several surveys and give a stool/saliva/urine sample. 

For each set of trimester surveys, you will receive $50 on a prepaid card.

For providing stool sample, you will receive $20 on a prepaid card.

There will be no compensation for saliva samples. 

What Happens When I Have My Baby?

We will come see you in the hospital and bring you a gift! There will be one final set of surveys to complete and you will be asked to provide additional biological samples.

For completion of surveys, you will receive $50 on a prepaid card. 

For providing biological samples, you will receive $20 on a prepaid card. 

Birth

You may be recruited right before delivery, then continue follow-up visits until your child is 12 months. 

Recruitment

When you are recruited, you will be randomly assigned to 1 of 3 methods to keep in contact with you. 

  1. Standard follow-up:  Routine medical visits
  2. App based communication via your smart phone: Text messages, educational module about taking care of your physical and mental health during pregnancy and after delivery, and direct communication with a specialized team in case of emergency
  3. Enhanced Care Coordination: Individually built medical screening and assisting in connecting you to resources. 

Once assigned to a group, you will complete all of the activities described below. 

What to Expect

You and your infant may be asked to complete a study visit on the Washington University medical campus.

During this time you will complete questionnaires, and your child will undergo a birth MRI scan and developmental testing.

For participation in this visit, you will be receive $100 on a prepaid card. 

What Will My Child Do?

Your infant will undergo an MRI scan and will participate in developmental testing. In the developmental testing, your child will be assessed by a nurse who will be looking at vision, movement, hearing, and reflexes. 

What Will I Do?

At the follow-up visit, you will complete a set of questionnaires. 

MRI Imaging
  • Prior to your infants MRI scan, we will have you feed your infant so that their belly is nice and full.  This is important because we get the best data if your baby is sleeping and content, and a nice full belly helps with both of these.
  • Once you are finished feeding your baby, we will remove their clothing, swaddle them in two blanks and wrap them in a papoose.  We need to do this because we can’t have any metal in the scanner. 
  • We will also place neonatal ear muffs on your infant to protect their hearing.
  • A nurse will monitor your baby’s heart rate and oxygen during the entire scan and we will also monitor via a video camera and sound system located in the scanner.

The scan will itself will take approximately 60 minutes but we allow 90 minutes for transport to and from the scanner.

Click here to view a PowerPoint about our MRIs.

3 & 6 Month Follow Up Visits

What To Expect

You and your child will complete developmental study visits on the Washington University medical campus.

You will be compensated $50 for each visit. 

What Will My Child Do?

Your child will undergo developmental testing. In the developmental testing, your child will do some tasks alone, and some with you. 

We will also use functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure your child’s brain activity in different tasks. 

What Will I Do?

At the follow-up visits, you will participate in your child’s developmental testing. You will also complete surveys about yourself and your baby. 

We may collect stool and saliva samples from you and your child. 

For providing stool sample, you will receive $20 on a prepaid card.

There will be no compensation for saliva samples.

9 & 12 Month Follow Up Visits

What to Expect

You and your child will complete developmental study visits on the Washington University medical campus.

You will be compensated $50 for each visit. 

What Will My Child Do?

Your child will undergo developmental testing. In the developmental testing, your child will do some tasks alone, and some with you. 

We will also use functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure your child’s brain activity in different tasks. 

What Will I Do?

At the follow-up visits, you will participate in your child’s developmental testing. You will also complete surveys about yourself and your baby. 

We may collect stool and saliva samples from you and your child. 

For providing stool sample, you will receive $20 on a prepaid card.

There will be no compensation for saliva samples.


eLABE Study

In addition to the yearly visits outlined below, you will be asked to complete a brief set of surveys and collect stool samples from your child every four months. You will receive a $20 gift card for every stool sample and set of surveys provided from home.

For eLABE studies, please contact our coordinator Lori Ingram.

Have questions about eLABE? Click the following link for a more detailed description of eLABE on our brochure.

Birth Follow-Up

What to Expect

You and your infant will complete a study visit on the Washington University medical campus. During this time you will complete questionnaires, and your child will undergo a birth MRI scan and developmental testing. Additionally, you will be compensated $100 for your participation.

What Will My Child Do?

Your infant will undergo an MRI scan and will participate in developmental testing. In the developmental testing, your child will be assessed by a nurse who will be looking at vision, movement, hearing, and reflexes. After your infant completes the developmental testing, they will have an MRI scan. 

What Will I Do?

At the follow-up visit, you will complete a set of questionnaires. 

MRI Imaging

Prior to your infants MRI scan, we will have you feed your infant so that their belly is nice and full.  This is important because we get the best data if your baby is sleeping and content, and a nice full belly helps with both of these. Once you are finished feeding your baby, we will remove their clothing, swaddle them in two blanks and wrap them in a papoose.  We need to do this because we can’t have any metal in the scanner.  We will also place neonatal ear muffs on your infant to protect their hearing. A nurse will monitor your baby’s heart rate and oxygen during the entire scan and we will also monitor via a video camera and sound system located in the scanner. The scan will itself will take approximately 60 minutes but we allow 90 minutes for transport to and from the scanner.

One-Year and Three-Year Follow Up

What to Expect

You and your toddler will complete a developmental study visit on the Washington University medical campus. During this time, you will also complete an interview with a member from the eLABE team. Your toddler will also have an EEG and eye-tracking assessment. At your child’s 1 year follow-up, your toddler will have their blood drawn by a Children’s Hospital phlebotomist. 

Additionally, you will be compensated $100 for your participation if your toddler is 1 year of age, and $125 if your child is 3 years of age.

What Will My Child Do?

Your toddler will undergo developmental testing, EEG, eye-tracking, and a blood draw (only at year 1). In the developmental testing, your toddler will do some tasks alone, and some with you. After you and your toddler complete the developmental testing, your toddler will undergo an EEG and eye-tracking portion that will last about 20 minutes. After that, if they are at their 1-year follow-up visit, they will have their blood drawn by a phlebotomist. 

What Will I Do?

At the follow-up visit, you will participate in your child’s developmental testing. 

Two-Year Follow Up

What to Expect

The two-year follow-up visit will be very similar to the one-year visit. You and your toddler will still complete developmental testing. In addition, your toddler will undergo an MRI scan to obtain a new picture of their brain.

After your visit, you will be compensated $100 for your toddler’s developmental testing and $125 for the MRI scan.

What Will My Child Do?

Your toddler will undergo similar developmental testing as their 1-year follow-up visit. In the developmental testing, your toddler will do some tasks alone, and some with you. Afterwards, they will have an MRI scan while they are napping.

What Will I Do?

Like the one-year follow-up visit, you will participate in your toddler’s developmental testing.

MRI Imaging

A magnetic resonance image (MRI) scan will be performed to take structural pictures of your toddler’s brain. 

The MRI scan contains a table which your toddler will lie down on while they are sleeping. Your toddler’s head and shoulder will be in a plastic head coil that will make it easier to lie still. The table is then moved into a large cylinder, and the MRI scanner uses a magnet to take pictures of the brain. The scanner makes loud noises, so we will provide your toddler with earplugs and headphones. Your toddler will be allowed to take breaks and communicate with staff during the MRI scan. The actual MRI scan will take approximately 60 minutes. If your toddler is unable to finish the scan, we will work with you to schedule another visit to complete it.

After completing both the practice and actual MRI scan, we will compensate you $100 for your participation.

How to Prepare for My Child’s MRI
  1. Play the white noise that your child will hear in the scanner during your child’s nap or bedtime. You can increase the volume of the sound as  your child becomes more accustomed to it. See the audio file below
  1. Practice putting the ear plugs that we mailed you in your child’s ears. Here is the video that describes how to do it:
  1. For more information about your child’s MRI, feel free to watch this video. Some parts of the video are relevant and others aren’t, but hopefully it will give you a better sense of how the process will work. 

CUDDEL Study

If you have questions about the CUDDEL study contact Gracie Kempf or Madeline Thompson

Pregnancy

What Will I Do?

You will complete 3 trimester visits with the CUDDEL team at your OB visits. At each visit you will leave a urine sample and complete surveys. After each completed visit you will receive $25 on a prepaid card. 

What Happens When I Have My Baby?

We will come see you in the hospital and bring you a gift! There will be one final survey to complete and you will be paid another $25. 

Birth

What to Expect

You and your infant will complete a study visit on the Washington University medical campus. During this time you will complete questionnaires, and your child will undergo a birth MRI scan and developmental testing. Additionally, you will be compensated $100 for your participation.

What Will My Child Do?

Your infant will undergo an MRI scan and will participate in developmental testing. In the developmental testing, your child will be assessed by a nurse who will be looking at vision, movement, hearing, and reflexes. 

What Will I Do?

At the follow-up visit, you will complete a set of questionnaires. 

MRI Imaging

Prior to your infants MRI scan, we will have you feed your infant so that their belly is nice and full.  This is important because we get the best data if your baby is sleeping and content, and a nice full belly helps with both of these. Once you are finished feeding your baby, we will remove their clothing, swaddle them in two blanks and wrap them in a papoose.  We need to do this because we can’t have any metal in the scanner.  We will also place neonatal ear muffs on your infant to protect their hearing. A nurse will monitor your baby’s heart rate and oxygen during the entire scan and we will also monitor via a video camera and sound system located in the scanner. The scan will itself will take approximately 60 minutes but we allow 90 minutes for transport to and from the scanner.

How to Prepare for My Child’s MRI
  1. Play the white noise that your child will hear in the scanner during your child’s nap or bedtime. You can increase the volume of the sound as  your child becomes more accustomed to it. See the audio file below:
  1. Practice putting the ear plugs that we mailed you in your child’s ears. Here is the video that describes how to do it:
  1. For more information about your child’s MRI, feel free to watch this video. Some parts of the video are relevant and others aren’t, but hopefully it will give you a better sense of how the process will work. 

6 Month Follow Up

Want to know more about CUDDEL? Check out our CUDDEL Brochure.

What to Expect

You and your child will complete a developmental study visit on the Washington University medical campus. Additionally, you will be compensated $50 for this visit. 

What Will My Child Do?

Your toddler will undergo developmental testing. In the developmental testing, your toddler will do some tasks alone, and some with you. 

What Will I Do?

At the follow-up visit, you will participate in your child’s developmental testing. You will also complete surveys about yourself and your baby. 


WUNDER Studies

For WUNDER Studies, please contact our research coordinator: Jessica Perkins.

Two-Year Follow Up

What to Expect

On the day of your follow-up visit, your child will be seen for neurodevelopmental testing. This testing will involve some tasks your child will do alone, and some that your child will do with you. These tasks will be recorded using audio and video so that the examiner can score the developmental test. Additionally, you, the parent, will complete a questionnaire. This should take you about one hour. 

The total assessment will last 1-2 hours. Additionally, you and your child will be given a $50 gift card for your participation.

Child Development Testing

An examiner from the WUNDER Lab will ask your child to complete some tasks. As stated above, your child will complete some of the them with you, and some without you. These tasks may assist in early recognition of areas of strengths and challenges that your child may be facing.

We expect this testing to last between 1 and 2 hours. In this time, you will also be interviewed by a member of the WUNDER Lab team.

After completing the developmental testing, we will mail you the results.

Parental Information

While your child is testing with one of our examiners, we will ask you to complete a questionnaire. This will contain questions about your family, your home life, your own health, and your child’s health. The questionnaire should take you about 60 minutes to complete. If you are unable to complete this by the end of your visit, we may call you to complete the questionnaire over the phone.

Five-Year Follow Up

What to Expect

In this phase of the study, you will be seen for your 5-6 year neurodevelopmental follow-up evaluation. We will ask you to complete a questionnaire about your family, your home life, your own health, and your child’s health. If you are not able to complete this by the end of your appointment, we may call you to complete the measures over the phone.

Additionally, your child will undergo neurodevelopmental tests with an examiner from the WUNDER team. In total, this evaluation will last 3-4 hours. You will be compensated $100 for your participation. 

Child Development Testing

We would like to see your child at 5-6 years of age for thorough developmental testing. During the testing, your child will do some tasks alone and some with caregiver. The tests may assist in early recognition of areas of strengths and challenges that your child may be facing. If these assessments indicate possible concerns regarding your child’s development, you may be contacted to schedule further testing.

The testing will also be videotaped. This is necessary for the examiner to review after testing for scoring purposes.

Parental Information

In addition to asking you to fill out a questionnaire, we would like to contact your child’s teacher or daycare worker. We would like to send your child’s teacher or daycare worker a questionnaire as well, which will include items about your child’s behavioral functioning in the classroom or daycare setting. We will also ask your child’s teacher or daycare worker to complete a questionnaire before and after you complete your five-year follow-up visit.

The teacher’s responses to these questions will be coded to protect their confidentiality and your child’s confidentiality.

Nine/Ten-Year Follow Up

What to Expect

In the nine/ten-year follow-up visit, we will be obtaining questionnaire and assessment data from you and your child. We would like to use this data for studies going on right now, as well as studies that are conducted in the future. 

As part of the research study, you will be asked to complete a self-administered interview about your child’s behavior and development, and a brief questionnaire about your health. 

Your child will undergo developmental assessments, as well as a special examination to take pictures of your child’s brain using a magnetic resonance image (MRI) scan. The developmental testing and MRI imaging will take approximately four hours to complete. After the completion of your nine/ten-year follow up, you will be compensated $200 for your participation, and your child will receive a small gift.

Child Development Testing

Your child’s developmental testing will be videotaped, as it is necessary for the tester to review the video after testing for scoring purposes. The tests may assist in recognizing areas of strength and challenges that your child may be facing. This part of the follow up should last two and a half hours.

Additionally, we would like to understand if your child’s development is related to services you or your family received while in the study. To do this, we will ask to access service records from early childhood support services, such as through the Missouri Department of Social Services.

Parental Information

You have already completed a questionnaire about your child’s development, your family, your home life, your health, and your child’s health. As stated above, in this follow-up visit, you will be asked to complete a self-administered interview about your child’s behavior and development, as well as a brief questionnaire about your health. Your involvement will last approximately two and a half hours.

We would also like to ask your child’s teacher to fill out a brief questionnaire. This questionnaire will ask questions about your child’s behavioral functioning in the classroom setting, and their overall development. The teacher’s responses to these questions will be coded to protect their confidentiality and your child’s confidentiality.

MRI Imaging

A magnetic resonance image (MRI) scan will be performed to take structural pictures of your child’s brain. Before the actual scan, you and your child will first undergo a practice MRI scan to become familiar with the scanning procedures. The practice MRI scan will last about 20-30 minutes. If your child is unable to complete the practice MRI scan, the research team may decide not to complete the full MRI scan. 

The MRI scan contains a table which your child will lie down on. Your child’s head and shoulder will be in a plastic head coil that will make it easier to lie still. The table is then moved into a large cylinder, and the MRI scanner uses a magnet to take pictures of the brain. The scanner makes loud noises, so we will provide your child with earplugs and headphones. Your child will be allowed to take breaks and communicate with staff during the MRI scan. The actual MRI scan will take approximately 60 minutes. If your child is unable to finish the scan, we will work with you to schedule another visit to complete it.

After completing both the practice and actual MRI scan, we will compensate you $100 for your participation.

You can watch this video to learn more about what to expect at the MRI scan.

Have a Question?

Visit our FAQs page for more information