Brain Imaging – Craniosynostosis and Plagiocephaly

In conjunction with the Dr. Matthew Speltz in the Department of Pediatric Psychiatry, Dr. Aylward is participating in an NIH-funded study of the neurobehavioral correlates of craniosynostosis,   a craniofacial disorder characterized by premature fusion of two, adjoining plates of the skull, which result in malformations and dysmorphology of the head in the absence of corrective surgery.  Infants with this condition have been followed post-surgically to determine if there are any cognitive, behavioral, or neurological impairments associated with this condition.  Dr. Aylward is performing MRI measurements on brain scans from these children, now 7 years of age, to determine whether any brain malformations can be identified and, if so, how they relate to behavioral, cognitive, and neurological impairments.

Dr. Aylward also conducts MRI scans in children with deformational plagiocephaly (DP), another craniofacial disorder that involves cranial asymmetry attributable to external forces (prenatal or postnatal) that shape the malleable infant skull. Although DP is typically considered a benign and purely cosmetic condition, there is emerging evidence suggesting that infants with DP are at-risk for developmental delays, particularly in motor development.  As part of a NIH-funded study investigating neurodevelopment in babies with DP (Matthew Speltz, P.I.), a subgroup of cases were imaged using MRI.  MRI measures are being performed to determine whether abnormal skull shape is associated with abnormal brain shape, volume, or regional abnormalities, and if so, how these brain abnormalities are associated with behavioral or cognitive impairment.

Brain Imaging- MRI of infant

MRI scan from an infant with plagiocephaly, with corpus callosum and cerebellar vermis measurements

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