The myth of the normal, average human brain-The ICBM experience: (1) Subject screening and eligibility

Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 09/2008; 44(3):914-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.07.062
Source: PubMed


In the course of developing an atlas and reference system for the normal human brain throughout the human age span from structural and functional brain imaging data, the International Consortium for Brain Mapping (ICBM) developed a set of "normal" criteria for subject inclusion and the associated exclusion criteria. The approach was to minimize inclusion of subjects with any medical disorders that could affect brain structure or function. In the past two years, a group of 1685 potential subjects responded to solicitation advertisements at one of the consortium sites (UCLA). Subjects were screened by a detailed telephone interview and then had an in-person history and physical examination. Of those who responded to the advertisement and considered themselves to be normal, only 31.6% (532 subjects) passed the telephone screening process. Of the 348 individuals who submitted to in-person history and physical examinations, only 51.7% passed these screening procedures. Thus, only 10.7% of those individuals who responded to the original advertisement qualified for imaging. The most frequent cause for exclusion in the second phase of subject screening was high blood pressure followed by abnormal signs on neurological examination. It is concluded that the majority of individuals who consider themselves normal by self-report are found not to be so by detailed historical interviews about underlying medical conditions and by thorough medical and neurological examinations. Recommendations are made with regard to the inclusion of subjects in brain imaging studies and the criteria used to select them.

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    • "Brain scans for the control sample were obtained from the ICBM database of normal adults (http://www.loni.ucla. edu/ICBM/Databases/), and criteria for subject screening and eligibility are detailed elsewhere [Mazziotta et al., 2009]. "
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    • "Subjects were recruited at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as part of the International Consortium for Brain Mapping (ICBM) project (Mazziotta et al., 2009). Subjects were extensively screened by medical and neurological examination to exclude any major medical, neurological, neurosurgical , or psychiatric conditions, high blood pressure, use of prescriptions, and over-the-counter or illicit drugs with the exception of occasional use for disease prevention [for details, see (Mazziotta et al., 2009)]. For this study, only individuals with high-quality DTI data collected from the same research site and of the same racial/ethnic group were included for examination . "
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