Addtional Information for Current Research Participants

General Information

Information for Female Volunteers

Is there anything to be worried about? What about radiation?

Functional MRI studies do not involve shocks, burns, ionizing radiation, or anything else painful or invasive. An MRI scanner uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of your brain. There are no known acute or long-term health risks involved. In fact, approximately 30,000 MRI scans are done daily across the United States, and people can participate in as many MRI scans as they wish.

The only persons put at risk are those who have any form of metal in their body. That is why we are meticulous in our efforts to do thorough screening over the phone and also in person. It is in the interest of both the researcher and especially the volunteer that all responses to screening questions are absolutely truthful.

What are the days and times for the studies?

Each study has different scheduling requirements. However, generally speaking, volunteers are scheduled Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Weekend and evening scheduling may be available for some experiments.

How should I prepare for the MRI scan?

Remember that no metal is allowed in or near the MRI scanner. So, on the day of your scan, try not to wear clothing or accessories that contain metallic components. Such items include clothing with metal studs, inserts, or pins (zippers are fine), bras with under-wires, earrings or other body piercings, jewelry, and/or metal hair clips/pins.

Additionally, keep in mind that a scan session can take as long as 2 hours to complete. Therefore, during the hours preceding your scan time, please refrain from drinking large amounts of liquids. Because of the way MRI scanning operates, stopping for a bathroom break could essentially invalidate the researcherís data.

What about directions?

Please see the BIAC Directions page for travel information.

What about parking?

Duke Hospital Parking Garage II (PGII) is the best place to park. At the end of your visit you will receive a complimentary parking voucher, which can be presented to the parking garage attendant.

What should I do once I reach the BIAC office or the MRI front desk?

Always notify the receptionist or other personnel that you are a research volunteer. If asked to give a researcher name, mention the name that was emailed to you. Also, if you are reporting for an MRI scan, be sure to leave all metal items in the secured lockers next to the front desk. This includes: contents of pockets (e.g., keys, wallets), cell phones, pagers, PDAs, or other electronic equipment, and backpacks.

What if I need to postpone or cancel my appointment(s)?

If you need to postpone or cancel for whatever reason, please provide at least 48 hours notification. If you have any immediate questions, last minute concerns, or are simply running a bit late, you should contact the Subject Coordinator by phone or email.

Does participation in any of these studies count towards course credit?

No. Currently, BIAC does not participate in the Psychology Department's Subject Pool at Duke University or any other institution. All volunteers will only receive monetary compensation.

How are payments made?

The method of payment depends on the particular study in which you participate. Most research volunteers receive cash, paid immediately following a study. Some volunteers receive checks that are mailed after participating. The experimenter for your study can advise you about the form of payment.

Are there any other incentives besides money?

As a bonus, we will email you images of your brain, if you so desire.

Can I participate in more than one study?

Yes. If you are interested, we can contact you again for later studies.

How do I get started?

First time participants should contact the Subject Coordinator to set up a time for a phone screening, and if qualified, an initial visit. During your first visit the subject coordinator will explain all of the procedures and provide you with important information about MRI studies. You will complete paperwork and participate in a "mock" scanning session. Female volunteers will also receive a blood pregnancy test during this visit. The first visit takes about 1 hour, and you will receive $20 for this session.

Why is a pregnancy test required and what does it involve?

According to BIAC policy, as governed by the Duke Institutional Review Board, all potential female volunteers must take a pregnancy test via blood sampling. The test is conducted at the Duke Hospital MR center. It usually takes about 15 minutes. You must schedule a blood test with your experimenter or with the BIAC Subject Coordinator.

When can I schedule this test and where should I go to take it?

Female volunteers who opt to join the BIAC subject pool are required to take the blood serum pregnancy test prior to their first MRI scan. If sexually active, you must agree to use appropriate contraceptive measures for the duration of the study. If you do become pregnant during this study or if you have unprotected sex, you must inform the Subject Coordinator immediately.

Female volunteers who participate outside of the BIAC subject pool are required to take the blood serum pregnancy test within 72 hours prior to the actual MRI scan. It takes a few hours to analyze the test, so we generally schedule blood tests at least 3 hours before the MR scan. For example, if you were scheduled for a session on Friday at 3:00pm, you could take the blood test any time from Wednesday to Friday morning. Scheduling is very flexible since a MRI scanner does not have to be reserved for this part of the study. Volunteers can come in from 8:30am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

For this pre-scan visit, you should go to the Children's Hospital to meet your experimenter at the fish tank. All payments will be made at the end of the scan visit.

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