Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in paediatric cohorts is often complicated by reluctance to enter the scanner and head motion-related imaging artefacts. The process is particularly challenging for children with neurodevelopmental disorders where coping with novel task demands in an unfamiliar setting may be more difficult due to symptom-related deficits or distress. These issues often give rise to excessive head motion that can significantly reduce the quality of images acquired, or render data unusable. Here we report an individualised MRI training procedure that enables children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to better tolerate the MRI scanner environment based on a child-focused approach and individualised familiarisation strategies, including a pre-visit interview, familiarisation package, and personalised rewards. A medical imaging mobile application was utilised to familiarise participants to multi-sensory aspects of the neuroimaging experience through a variety of themed mini-games and activities. The MRI training procedure was implemented for monozygotic twins (n = 12; 6 twin pairs; age range 7.1-12.9 years) concordant or discordant for ASD. MRI image quality indices were better or comparable to images acquired from a large independent multi-centre ASD cohort. Present findings are promising and suggest that child-focused strategies could improve the quality of paediatric neuroimaging in clinical populations.Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
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