Spinal Cord Imaging

Study Goals

Our objectives are to better understand pain involvement in children with myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord, and to develop diagnostic imaging techniques to detect different demyelinating stages of myelitis.

Our Approach

We use advanced imaging techniques to measure changes in the spinal cord in patients at different stages of myelitis.  Additionally, we use Quantitative Sensory Testing to measure pain, and define the relationship between changes in the spinal cord and the severity of pain.

Eligibility to Participate

Children and young adults between the ages of 7 and 21 that are either:

  • Diagnosed with a condition that involves myelitis, such as transverse myelitis (TM), acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), polio-like myelitis, and/or multiple sclerosis (MS), among others.
  • Healthy and free of metallic implants, such as braces.

Study Visit Overview

The study visit involves a one-time visit to the Boston Children’s in Waltham (9 Hope Avenue) that takes a minimum of 3.5 hours.  Volunteers may be asked to participate in the study multiple times.  It includes the following:

  1. Two MRI scans of your spinal cord (45 minutes each)
  2. Sensory Testing (~20 minutes)


Participants will receive $50 loaded onto a ClinCard (a research debit card) for each completed scan, for a total of $100 at the end of the visit.


This study is supported by a NIH K25 grant awarded to Nadia Barakat, PhD (Principal Investigator).


To learn more about this study, please email [email protected] You can also learn more about transverse myelitis at myelitis.org.