Pregnancy testing before MRI for neuroimaging research: Balancing risks to fetuses with risks to youth and adult participants

  • Tamara J. Sussman
    Corresponding author: 1051 Riverside Drive, Room 6307, New York, New York, 10032,
    Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA
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  • David Pagliaccio
    Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA
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Published:August 21, 2022DOI:
      While conducting research, it is crucial to protect our participants from undue risk. For human neuroimaging, many institutions require excluding pregnant people from completing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for research to minimize potential risk. This often entails mandatory urine pregnancy testing for all people assigned female at birth who have started to menstruate. This restriction stemmed from early concerns about fetal health from animal studies that have not been substantiated through human research. Yet, some institutions do not require this and many researchers are actively pursuing human fetal MRI.

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