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The NIH MRI study of normal brain development: Performance of a population based sample of healthy children aged 6 to 18 years on a neuropsychological battery


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Study of Normal Brain Development is a landmark study in which structural and metabolic brain development and behavior are followed longitudinally from birth to young adulthood in a population-based sample of healthy children. The neuropsychological assessment protocol for children aged 6 to 18 years is described and normative data are presented for participants in that age range (N = 385). For many measures, raw score performance improved steeply from 6 to 10 years, decelerating during adolescence. Sex differences were documented for Block Design (male advantage), CVLT, Pegboard and Coding (female advantage). Household income predicted IQ and achievement, as well as externalizing problems and social competence, but not the other cognitive or behavioral measures. Performance of this healthy sample was generally better than published norms. This linked imaging-clinical/behavioral database will be an invaluable public resource for researchers for many years to come. (JINS, 2007, 13, 729–746.)This project is supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Contract N01-HD02-3343), the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health (Contract N01-MH9-0002), and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (Contracts N01-NS-9-2314, -2315, -2316, -2317, -2319 and -2320). The views stated herein do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke), or the Department of Health and Human Services, nor any other agency of the United States government.

Corresponding author
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Deborah P. Waber, Department of Psychiatry, Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail:
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Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
  • ISSN: 1355-6177
  • EISSN: 1469-7661
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