What is the BOLD study about?

Why are we doing this research?

About 7% of children – that’s 2 children in every primary school classroom – have problems learning their first language, but we do not know why. Studying the brain could give us clues about why some children have problems and some don’t.


Some children who have problems with language are diagnosed with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). People with this condition have trouble with using or understanding spoken language, or with both. These problems can affect how well children do at school, but lots of teachers and parents don’t know much about how to help.

To learn more about DLD, visit https://radld.org, https://www.tes.com/news/suffering-silence-1 or read our blog posts.


Differences in the brain’s size and shape may give us clues that explain why some children struggle with language and others don’t.

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We want to use MRI scanning to take pictures of the brains of lots of children. This will help us answer questions about how and why everyone is different.




What is MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It uses a large magnet and radio waves to give us pictures of the brain. Sometimes people in hospital need to have MRI scans like these. MRI can also show us what your brain is doing when you are thinking about something, or when you listen to music or watch a movie. To find out more about MRI, visit the ‘What is MRI’ section of our website.


What happens if I want to take part in the study?

You can fill out a quick form here to tell us that you’re interested in the study. After this, one of our research team will get in touch with you and your family to check if it would be safe for you to take part. If you and your family agree to take part, we will invite you to come to Oxford to the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging for your MRI scan.


We want to put the brain scans from our study on the internet so that other people can use them in their research. We make sure that you cannot be identified from these scans. We do not use your name. Instead we give your scan a code like ABC123. Other researchers will only see the code. When we record your voice, we will not share these recordings with anyone outside the research team.