Landmark study of adolescent brain development renews for seven more years
Wednesday April 15, 2020
The NIH-backed multi-institute research program will generate solid data on the maturation of young brains.
With nearly $ 290 million in new funding over seven years for research institutes across the country, the National Institutes of Health have renewed their commitment to Adolescent Cognitive Brain Development (ABCD) Study, the largest long-term study of brain development and children’s health ever to be conducted in the United States.
Launched in 2015, ABCD has followed 11,750 children, including 2,100 twins or triplets, for at least 10 years from 9 to 10 years old. The new awards continue to fund a Coordination center and Data Analysis Resource and Computing Center at the University of California at San Diego, as well as at the sites of research projects where children are evaluated.
“The next phase of the ABCD study will help us understand the effects of substance use, as well as environmental, social, genetic and other biological factors on the brains of developing adolescents,” said Nora D. Volkow, MD, director of NIDA. With participants now in their vulnerable college years or entering high school, this is a critical time to learn more about what improves or disrupts a young person’s life trajectory.
Scientists document drug exposures (including nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana), screen time activities, sleep patterns, engagement in sports and the arts, among other variables, which can affect brain development, cognitive skills, mental health, and many other outcomes. Young participants undergo behavioral interviews and assessments once or twice a year, with physiological measures (eg, blood pressure, cholesterol) of cardiovascular health and neuroimaging of the structure and function of the brain every two years. .
While the project is designed to answer long-standing questions about adolescent brain development throughout the teenage years and beyond, the study has already published two high-quality, anonymized baseline data sets. to the wider research community via the National Institute of Mental Health data archive to allow ABCD and non-ABCD researchers to pursue their own research questions. The data – so far over 140 terabytes – includes baseline participant demographics, assessments of physical and mental health, substance use, culture and environment, and neurocognition , tabulated structural and functional neuroimaging data, and poorly processed brain images. The comprehensive dataset, which is disaggregated by gender, racial / ethnic group, and socioeconomic status, allows researchers to address many questions that may ultimately inform health-related decisions and policies. education, nutrition, physical activity, sleep and prevention of substance use and mental illness.
So far, 32 research papers have been published using this data, including 11 from researchers not involved in the ABCD study. These analyzes have led to a better understanding of the association between certain traits and experiences of adolescence (eg, sleep, body mass index, family conflict, screen time) and brain physiology and others. outcomes, such as cognitive ability and mental illness (eg, depression and suicide). While most of these research projects have only examined the associations at one point in time, the data that will be collected over time will allow scientists to examine the developmental trajectories of individuals and how they are. affected by many of the factors mentioned above, including genetics. .
Additional data will be released this summer, including the six-month and one-year follow-up for the full cohort and other interim data. The data will be made available via the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) data archive, accessible to researchers who obtain a NIMH Data Archive account.
The ABCD study, like many other research projects, is adjusting to the restrictions needed to fight COVID-19. Scientists will conduct virtual assessments for as long as necessary so that valuable data is not lost and the health and safety of participants is ensured. It is essential that researchers stay in touch with the ABCD families throughout this period and resume full data collection when completed to understand the factors that influence long-term developmental trajectories.
Information on the ABCD study and the study sites can be found online. The ABCD study was initiated by the Collaborative Drug Addiction Research at NIH (CRAN), a consortium of institutes focused on drug addiction research. CRAN includes NIDA, the national Institute on Abuse and Alcoholism and National Cancer Institute. The other NIH collaborators in this project are the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; the National Institute of Heart, Lungs and Blood, the NIH Behavioral and Social Science Research Office, the NIH Office of Women’s Health Research, and the Adolescent Health and Schools Division of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with additional partnerships with the National Institute of Justice, the CDC’s Violence Prevention Division, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute delivers a wide variety of programs to inform policy and improve practice. Factsheets on the health effects of drug abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities are available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov, which is compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call the NIDA DrugPubs Research Dissemination Center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email your inquiries to drugpubs @ nida .nih.gov. Online ordering is available at https://drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. The NIDA media guide is available at http://drugabuse.gov/mediaguide/, and its easy-to-read website can be found at https://www.easyread.drugabuse.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):NIH, the country’s medical research agency, comprises 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the principal federal agency that conducts and supports basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and studies the causes, treatments, and cures for common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
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