Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) is the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States. The ABCD Research Consortium consists of 21 research sites across the country, a Coordinating Center, and a Data Analysis and Informatics Resource Center. In its first five years, under RFA-DA-15-015, ABCD enrolled a diverse sample of 11,878 9-10 year olds from across the consortium, and will track their biological and behavioral development through adolescence into young adulthood. All participants received a comprehensive baseline assessment, including state-of-the-art brain imaging, neuropsychological testing, bioassays, careful assessment of substance use, mental health, physical health, and culture and environment. A similar detailed assessment recurs every 2 years. Interim in-person annual interviews and mid-year telephone or mobile app assessments provide refined temporal resolution of developmental changes and life events that occur over time with minimal burden to participating youth and parents. Intensive efforts are made to keep the vast majority of participants involved with the study through adolescence and beyond, and retention rates thus far are very high. Neuroimaging has expanded our understanding of brain development from childhood into adulthood. Using this and other cutting-edge technologies, ABCD can determine how different kinds of youth experiences (such as sports, school involvement, extracurricular activities, videogames, social media, unhealthy sleep patterns, and vaping) interact with each other and with a child's changing biology to affect brain development and social, behavioral, academic, health, and other outcomes. Data, securely and privately shared with the scientific community, will enable investigators to: (1) describe individual developmental pathways in terms of neural, cognitive, emotional, and academic functioning, and influencing factors; (2) develop national standards of healthy brain development; (3) investigate the roles and interaction of genes and the environment on development; (4) examine how physical activity, sleep, screen time, sports injuries (including traumatic brain injuries), and other experiences influence brain development; (5) determine and replicate factors that influence mental health from childhood to young adulthood; (6) characterize relationships between mental health and substance use; and (7) specify how use of substances such as cannabis, alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine affects developmental outcomes, and how neural, cognitive, emotional, and environmental factors influence the risk for adolescent substance use.

Public Health Relevance

The ABCD Study consortium uses multimodal brain imaging, cognitive and clinical assessments, bioassays, mobile monitoring, and careful assessment of substance use, environment, psychopathological symptoms, and social functioning in 11,878 9-10 year-olds to be followed over 10 years, to determine the effects of substance use on adolescent brain and cognitive development. This ABCD Research Project Site will follow and assess participants enrolled in the study. These data will be shared with the scientific community to address a comprehensive range of questions concerning youth development.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1)
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Deeds, Bethany
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Washington University
Schools of Medicine
Saint Louis
United States
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