University of Southern California
University of Southern California

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What is this study about?

The goal of this USC study is to look at how gut microbiota relates to social brain functioning in developing children using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Using this safe brain imaging technique, we can take pictures of children’s brains while they do different tasks.

Who can sign up?

You may qualify if:

  • Your child is typically developing OR has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder OR has sensory over-responsivity / hypersensitivity.
  • You and your child are English-speaking.
  • Your child is 8-17 years old.
  • Your child is right-handed.

What will happen during the study?

  • You and your child will both fill out a set of questionnaires.
  • Your child will be asked to complete short cognitive tasks.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be used to take pictures of your child's brain while he/she performs a task.
  • Your child will be able to watch a video of his/her choice during portions of the MRI.
  • Your child will provide a stool sample.
  • This study involves 8-10 hours of participation split across 2 separate visits. Each visit will last anywhere from 4 to 5 hours. Evening and weekend appointments are available.

Where will this study take place?

What are the benefits of participating?

  • While there will be no direct personal advantages from participation in this study, by becoming involved in this project you will be contributing to the advancement of scientific research in the field of microbiota and brain development.
  • In partial compensation for your time and effort, each child will receive up to $200. Each participant also receives pictures of his/her brain.

Is it safe?

  • The procedures are noninvasive and painless.
  • MRI does not involve exposure to radiation.
  • Information as well as the results of all testing will be kept strictly confidential.

What does it feel like inside the MRI scanner?

  • Children are positioned comfortably on a bed that slides into the MRI.
  • They'll use goggles and headphones to watch their favorite video during part of the time they're in the scanner.
  • An intercom allows your child and researcher to speak to each other at all times.
  • The MRI does not use X-rays or radiation.
MRI scan

Interested in Participating?

We won't share your personal information or contact details with anyone else and you can ask us to update/delete them at any time. (You can read our general Privacy Policy here.)

Contact us

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Phone: (424) 888-2KID
Study ID: IRB #UP-19-00522
USC Office for the Protection of Research Subjects