Clinical Interests

Dr. Cecil trains and assists radiologists and clinicians in the interpretation of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) applied to patients with pediatric brain disorders. Clinically, we evaluate children with suspected metabolic disorders, neoplasms, seizure disorders, traumatic brain injury, infectious processes and developmental delay. MRS is used to distinguish these entities, monitor treatment response and offer prognostic information useful in caring for patients.

Novel Translational Research

We are encouraged by the clinical impact of MRS for identifying genetic sources of mental retardation syndromes. In 1999, I identified absent creatine and phosphocreatine signals in the brain of a boy with normal structural imaging yet profound developmental delays and absent language skills. Collaborative research resulted in the identification of a new X-linked disorder affecting the creatine transporter (CRTR). Subsequent MRS and genetic analyses identified 5 families in Cincinnati (seven affected males, nine female carriers) and over 50 families in the world with differing mutations of CRTR on Xq28. It is now estimated that between 0.6% and 2% of males with mental retardation of unknown etiology might have this disorder. Clinical and research protocols for screening and treating these patients are underway to further our knowledge of this disorder.

General Research Interests

My personal goal is to develop hypothesis driven research to investigate and clarify the neurochemical processes within neural networks that influence behavior in children. This work, while focused on the chemistry and the application of MRS, also uses other MR imaging techniques (volumetric, functional and diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging), to explore brain-behavior relationships in several disorders.

Current Projects with Funding Source:

Early Lead Exposure, ADHD and Persistent Criminality: Role of Genes and Environment

R01 ES015559 (Dietrich, Cecil) 06/01/07 - 03/31/12 NIH/NIEHS

  • Examine the prevalence of adult ADHD and persistent criminality in a population with childhood lead exposure. Determine correlates with neuroanatomical and functional features.


Program Project: University of Cincinnati Bipolar Disorder Imaging & Treatment Research Center (BITREC)

P50 MH077138 (Strakowski) 04/01/07 - 03/31/12 NIH/NIMH

  • The center will integrate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) with outcome and treatment trials in order to develop specific neurophysiologic models of treatment response early in the course of bipolar disorder.


Neurofunctional and Neurochemical Markers of Treatment Response in Bipolar Mania

R01 MH078043 (Adler) 08/14/07 - 05/31/12 NIH/NIMH

  • Goals are to 1) To use fMRI and MRS to identify neurofunctional and neurometabolic abnormalities in manic and euthymic patients, and controls at baseline and 2) Use fMRI and MRS to measure changes in neurofunctional and neurometabolic measures after 1 and 8 weeks of lithium treatment, with the goal of refining neurophysiological models of bipolar mania; identifying MRS and fMRI markers and potential predictors of treatment response.


Effects of Lead, Manganese and Stress During Development

R01 ES 015689 (Williams) 09/18/06 - 06/30/11 NIH/NIEHS

  • This project investigates the behavioral, neuroanatomical and neurochemical effects of lead, manganese and stress in rat models. Volumetric imaging and magnetic resonance studies are conducted on our horizontal bore Bruker 7T MR scanner.


Neurobehavioral Late Effects in Pediatric Brain Tumors

R01 CA112182 (Ris) 03/01/05 - 5/31/11 NIH/NCI

  • This project models the cognitive effects of radiation therapy with behavioral assessments and imaging techniques (volumetric, spectroscopy, diffusion). Pediatric brain tumor patients are studied using clinical MR scanners operating at 1.5 and 3T.
  • Related Publication: "An Improved Methodology for Modeling Neurobehavioral Late-Effects of Radiotherapy in Pediatric Brain Tumors," M. Douglas Ris, Patricia McDonough Ryan, Michael Lamba, John Brenemen, Kim Cecil, Paul Succop, and William Ball, Pediatric Blood Cancer 2005, 44, 1-7.