Pediatric Head Models for Improved Imaging of Neurological Development

While it is well known that the brain undergoes rapid developmental changes from birth to early childhood, remarkably little is understood about the relationship between changes in brain size and composition and cognitive development. Yet several potentially debilitating neurocognitive disorders are a consequence of delays or abnormalities in brain development, and childhood epilepsy has been shown to be associated with an increased risk of learning disabilities, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression. These associations make it imperative that we gain a better understanding of the relationship between cognitive and anatomical development. In children, the study of cognitive and brain developmental trajectories are best accomplished using non-invasive techniques that are not overly restrictive of movement and do not require ionizing radiation. Of available techniques, electroencephalography (EEG), particularly with the advent of high density sensor arrays, provides the ability to assess cognitive function safely and non-invasively. Our central goal is to develop age-specific pediatric head models to improve current source localization imaging in pediatric populations under the hypothesis that functional localization of cognitively important brain regions and networks requires an accurate model of head tissue geometry and conductivity.