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A newborn infant's brain differs substantially from that of an adult, with considerable differences in brain structure and function and degree of subject motion. Considering the majority of current fMRI analysis tools have been designed and optimised for the adult brain, this can result in suboptimal analysis when using these tools in infants. In this project, we are extending the Developing Human Connectome Project (dHCP) fMRI preprocessing pipeline developed for resting state fMRI to be usable with infant task fMRI, specifically a noxious stimulus. We are also exploring other analysis choices such as spatial smoothing extent and hemodynamic response function (HRF) model choice. We hope to demonstrate that substantial improvements in data quality can be achieved using sophisticated analysis tools optimised for the neonatal population - the outputs of this optimised analysis pipeline are cleaner and more robust than those of a more 'typical' adult-optimised pipeline. Adoption of bespoke, cutting-edge analysis methodology will be critical in producing more reliable research results and to advance our understanding of the development of sensory processing in the infant brain.

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