Scanning of Neurotransmitters in Children


Social Anxiety is the most common childhood anxiety disorder, and it can have significant long-term outcomes when not successfully treated. One treatment limitation is poor understanding of what causes Social Anxiety. This study uses a MRI scanner to measure a neurotransmitter system known as the noradrenergic system. The noradrenergic system works in the brain to help with attention, learning, sleep and anxiety. This study will compare this system children with a diagnosis of Social Anxiety to those without a diagnosis of Social Anxiety (healthy controls).

We will measure this system using MRI twice, about a year apart, to understand how this system is changing with time. As well as MRI, we will get measures of stress, cognition and behavior. We will look at how these relate to the noradrenergic system.


Currently recruiting participants: Yes

Eligible gender: Male, Female, Transgender, Other

Eligible ages: 8 to 12

Accepts healthy participants: Yes

Inclusion criteria:

Healthy cohort:
1) Aged between 8-12 years

Social Anxiety cohort:
1) Aged between 8-12 years
2) A diagnosis of Social Anxiety by a health professional

Exclusion criteria:

1) MRI safety contraindications such as implanted medical devices
2) Inability to read or understand English
3) Concussion within the past 3 months
4) A diagnosis of psychosis, autism, or intellectual disability
5) A diagnosis of a neurological disorder (epilepsy, stroke, cerebral palsy, brain tumor, etc.)


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Method of contact

Additional information

Contact information

If you're interested in this study, please contact Marilena DeMayo at or 403-210-9268

Principal investigator:

Alexander McGirr

Clinical trial: