What should I expect on my first visit?

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention and/or hyperactivity or impulsivity. Common symptoms of ADHD include:

  • Easily distracted
  • Difficulties sustaining attention or listening
  • Fidgeting, squirming, or feelings of restlessness
  • Always "on the go," or as if "driven by a motor"
  • Excessive talking or interrupting others

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?


Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) involves persistent and uncontrollable worry or anxiety about a number of different things. Children with GAD worry more often and more intensely than other children about things like health, safety, perfectionism, predictability, current events, weather, or finances.  Common symptoms of GAD include:

  • Needing constant reassurance from adults
  • Continually avoiding certain things or situations
  • Frequent complaints of stomachaches, headaches, or muscle tension
  • Sleep problems

What is a Healthy Control?


For our studies, healthy controls are individuals who do not have present or past neurological (i.e., seizures, head injuries results in a loss of consciousness) or psychiatric illnesses. 

  • The term "psychiatric illness" refers to any past or current issues with anxiety, depression, ADHD, or substance dependence. 

Additionally, healthy controls cannot have first-degree relatives (i.e., biological parents, biological siblings or half-siblings) with any past or present psychiatric illnesses.

For all current PediMIND studies, you will first meet with Dr. Dickstein, Dr. Kim, or Dr. Uth for an interview about your feelings and behavior. You will also complete a brief IQ test, which involves several activities to see how you solve problems and define words. We will use this information to decide if you fit in one of our study groups. If you are eligible for participation, you will fill out questionnaires about your feelings and behavior, provide a quick spit sample, and play special computer games.


For select PediMIND studies, you will then have the option of participating in a second visit, which includes taking pictures of your brain (i.e., an MRI scan) while you play different computer games.  After you complete your scan, you will get to take home 160 pictures of your brain, from ear to ear!

What is an MRI?


MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and involves using a large magnet to make pictures of the brain. These pictures can tell us about the structure, function, or chemicals within your brain.
The MRI is very safe. It does NOT use radiation like an x-ray machine. Also, we don't give you special medications or dyes like you might get for an MRI used for medical tests.

  • However, since the "M" in "MRI" stands for "magnetic," children can not have an MRI if they have metal in their bodies that cannot be removed, such as braces or implanted medical devices. 

During the MRI, you will spend part of the time playing special computer games and part of the time laying still and relaxing. Like regular pictures, you need to lie very still so your brain pictures are not blurry.

Before you go to the MRI, you will get to go to a practice scanner. This scanner is exactly like the MRI scanner in size and shape, but it doesn't have a magnet.

We do this so you can get used to what the scanner feels like and sounds like. In the practice scanner, you will play a video game that helps you practice staying very still.

What will I get for participating?


If you are eligible and complete all parts of the study, you will receive:

  • Monetary compensation for your time (compensation amount varies by study) 
  • A summary letter with the results of your IQ test and clinical interview
  • If the study involves an MRI, you will receive a CD with 160 souvenir pictures of your brain, from ear to ear!

What are the different study groups you are looking for?


  • Healthy Control teens ages 9-17
  • Teens who self-injure (via cutting)
  • Children with Bipolar Disorder or severe mood swings, ages 7-17

Research FAQs for Participants

Pediatric Mood,Imaging, and NeuroDevelopmentProgram

Pedi MIND

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?


Autism Spectrum Disorder is characterized by difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. Common symptoms of ASD include:

  • Difficulties with normal back-and-forth conversation
  • Lack of eye contact or difficulty with using and understanding body language
  • Difficulties in changing behavior to fit difference social contexts
  • Trouble making friends or apparent lack of interest in peers
  • Repetitive, stereotyped motor movements (e.g., hand flapping)
  • Inflexible adherence to routines or schedules
  • Restricted and/or fixated interests
  • Preoccupied or bothered by sensory input (e.g., textures, lights, noises)


ASD can occur with or without intellectual and language impairments.

What is Bipolar Disorder?


Bipolar disorder is a disorder marked by periods of extreme, impairing changes in mood or behavior. For our research
study, bipolar disorder is defined by a time period of a week or longer during which children exhibit:


  • Euphoric mood (i.e., being too happy or too silly)
  • Over-confidence, elevated self-esteem, or grandiosity (e.g., believing that they have special powers)
  • Racing thoughts or too many thoughts
  • Increased irritability
  • Engagement in risky or dangerous behavior
  • Decreased need for sleep (e.g., sleeping less but not feeling tired, feeling rested after only a few hours sleep)
  • Speech that is too fast or too loud