What is Bipolar Disorder (BD)?

Research FAQs

MRI stands for "Magnetic Resonance Imaging".  An MRI uses a large magnet to take pictures of the brain.  These pictures can tell us about the structure, functions, and chemicals within the brain.


The MRI is very safe. It does NOT use radiation like an x-ray machine. We don't give you special medications or dyes like you might get for an MRI in a hospital.   


However, since the "M" in MRI  stands for "magnetic," children with non-removable metals such as braces or implanted medical devices can not have an MRI with the PediMIND team.


Before your real MRI, you will go into our practice MRI--which looks and sounds exactly like the real MRI--but without the magnet.  In the practice MRI, you will play a game that helps you practice lying still.  


During your real MRI, part of the time you will play computer games while we take pictures. The other part, you will lie still looking at words.  Just like with a camera--moving bodies make blurry pictures!  So--you need to lie very still during your MRI--to make great pictures to take home!

What will I get for participating?

To learn more about our current studies and their eligibility criteria, click here

We usually figure out if kids fit into a study at the first visit.  Examples of why kids can NOT be in any PediMIND studies include:

  • Braces, top permanent retainers, metal screws/pins, or other implanted metal. (You can get them after the MRI is done.)
  • Head injury resulting in loss of consciousness
  • Stroke
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Seizure disorders
  • Severe developmental delays or disabilities
  • Current psychosis or severe substance abuse  

NSSI is defined as deliberate, self-inflicted injury without suicidal intent.  Common examples of NSSI include cutting, scratching, and burning.


NSSI is not the same thing as suicide.  When a person self-injures with at least some intent to die as a result of the injury, we define this as a suicide attempt.  

  • Money compensation for your time (amount varies by study).
  • A summary letter containing the results from the IQ test and clinical interview.
  • If you complete the MRI, cool pictures of your brain to enjoy (or show friends)!

YES!  We are currently recruiting two groups that do not require a history of NSSI or BD:

  1.  Children and teens ages 8-16 with any level of irritability (lots to a little)
  2.  Healthy control children and teens ages 11-16

What is a healthy control?

  • All PediMIND studies start with an explanation of the study, answering of questions, and written permission to be in the study (consent).  
  • Then, you will complete an interview about your feelings and behavior. You will also complete a brief IQ test (word games and other problems). We will use this information to confirm you fit into our study. All families receive summaries of these interviews and IQ test.
  • If you do fit, you will complete questionnaires/surveys and play computer games.  At a separate visit, you will have an MRI brain scan.

For our studies, we define healthy controls based on the following criteria:

  • No current or past neurological illnesses (i.e., seizures, head injuries resulting in the loss of consciousness
  • No current or past psychiatric illness (i.e., anxiety, depression, ADHD, substance abuse, etc.)
  • No first-degree biological relatives (i.e., biological parents, siblings, and or half-siblings) with current or past psychiatric illness

To learn more about the benefits of participating in our research, click here

BD is a disorder marked by periods of extreme, impairing changes in mood or behavior.  At PediMIND, we consider the following symptoms as indicators for childhood BD:

  • Euphoric mood (i.e., too happy or too silly)
  • Over-confidence, elevated self-esteem, or grandiosity (i.e., believing they have special powers)
  • Racing thoughts or too many thoughts
  • Increased irritability
  • Engagement in risky or dangerous behaviors
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Speech that is too fast or too loud

What should I expect on my first visit?

What things make you unable to be in a PediMIND research study?

What is non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI)?

I don't have a history of NSSI or BD.  Can I still participate?

What is an MRI?