Objectives: The present study examined functional neuroimaging success rates in three pediatric populations: children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), children with epilepsy (EP), and typically-developing (TD) children.
Methods: 246 children (32 ASD; 124 EP; 90 TD) ages four to eighteen years old participated in fMRI studies of language and executive control using a 3T Siemens Trio scanner. Scans included block and event-related designs for ASD and TD, and block designs for EP. Exclusionary criteria included cognitive impairment (IQ < 70). Scan success was determined by dividing the number of completed scan runs by the total attempted. When possible, reason for scanning failure (excessive motion, cognitive difficulties, or refusal) was recorded.
Results: The TD group had a higher scanning success rate (90%) than both ASD (78%) and EP (88%) groups. Children with ASD had the lowest number of successful scan trials in proportion to total number attempted. Excessive motion was the leading cause of scanning failure, followed by refusal to participate, and cognitive difficulties.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that imaging children from clinical groups, especially children with ASD, requires higher participant recruitment, additional scan time, and supplementary monetary funds. An analysis of the feasibility of pediatric neuroimaging serves as a valuable resource when modeling budgetary plans and research proposals.