Sunday, April 21, 2013

More research at the MIND

While we were at the UC Davis MIND institute participating in the sertraline clinical trial, we participated in another research trial. This was going to be taking an MRI of Logan's brain. The research team is comparing images of children's brains who have Fragile X to those of typical children, and also comparing them to children's brains who have autism. 

We want to help Fragile X research as much as we can, so when we were asked to participate in additional research during our stay, I said as long as we don't have to sedate Logan we would love to help. An MRI machine is very, very loud though. Logan is a deep sleeper, but we practiced every night the week before the MRI scan anyway. We went in after he fell asleep for the night, and put earplugs in and headphones on very carefully so we wouldn't wake him. The MIND institute sent us a CD of the sounds an MRI machine makes and Michael copied it and put it on Logan's iPod. We play Enya music on Logan's iPod/iHome every night for him, so once we put the headphones on we switched the iPod to the MRI sounds. These sounds play for about half an hour. He barely even stirred during this whole process. (He definitely gets that from Michael, not from me!)

The night of the MRI, Logan and I reported to the clinic at his normal bedtime. Michael wasn't allowed to be there since he has lots of metal and pins in his knee and the MRI machine is basically a huge magnet- not a good combination! I had to make sure I had no jewelry, bobby pins, zippers, or anything metal on me or Logan. The tech checked us over before we entered the room. The team was so great, they even played Enya over the speakers for Logan, which they had never done before! I donated the Enya CD we brought and used that night since they said they think it would help children in the future to relax and fall asleep. 

They had a sheet draped over the machine so Logan couldn't really see it, and the lights were down low. Logan thought we were just having a slumber party, since they had stuffed animals, pillows, and blankets on the platform outside of the machine. Logan and I laid down with the music playing, and I read him his bedtime story and he had his bedtime cup of milk. He started pointing out different things in the room, kept giggling since I was laying in bed with him in a new place, then in about 10 minutes he was completely asleep. The team came and checked on us, had me climb down from the platform, and gave Logan a few more minutes to get into a deep sleep. Then we went back in and I put his earplugs in and headphones on. We adjusted him so his head was in position, and then we were ready to go. They had me in the room with headphones on, and when the MRI started it made me jump, even with the headphones on. Logan though, slept right through it! The scan lasted for 35 minutes, and every time the sounds changed in the machine it made me jump. The tech said it always makes her jump too, just because it's SO loud. Logan slept the whole time, just fine! The tech watched Logan's face the entire time to make sure he was still asleep, while working the machine. He of course slept through the entire 35 minute scan.

The team was so great, they even let me take pictures after we were finished. Here is Logan still asleep, after the scan is complete:
 Here are some of the images they got from the scan. They also sent us a dvd so we could see Logan's entire brain in 3D!
I think this is just so cool! It's so amazing that this huge magnetic machine can see inside the human skull. Crazy! Anyway, I'm just so glad we could help with Fragile X research of any kind. They said the doctor would also look at the images of his brain to make sure there is nothing out of the ordinary showing up as well. Overall this was such a cool experience!

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