NIH Research Festival
Functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a non-invasive imaging modality used to assess functional brain activity. The technique is portable and therefore applicable in studies of children and toddlers. In this feasibility study, we evaluated the utility of functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) in measuring cerebral hemodynamics in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in toddlers between 18 and 36 months of age. Further, we analyzed group differences in fNIRS data in toddlers with typical development and a small group of children with language delay while they watched an engaging children’s video. We first analyzed the hemodynamic activation in left and right prefrontal cortex then calculated the oxygenation variability (OV) index based on variability in oxygen saturation at frequencies attributed to cerebral autoregulation for each child. Participants with language delay showed both more right-sided activation and higher differences between left and right activation compared to the TD group. In addition, toddlers with language delay had a lower overall OV index compared to children with typical development. These preliminary findings show the feasibility of using fNIRS in typical toddlers and those with delayed development.
Scientific Focus Area: Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics
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