On September 16, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the beginning of participant recruitment for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. The project is the largest long-term study of brain development in the United States, with 19 research sites positioned around the country to examine “how childhood experiences affect brain, social, emotional, and cognitive development, including those that directly affect classroom behavior and academic success.” In addition to looking at brain development, the study will allow researchers to examine health outcomes, such as weight, growth, sleep quality, mental health, substance use, and injury. It will also let them examine life outcomes and experiences. Specifically, ABCD will follow the biological and behavioral development of more than 10,000 children beginning at ages nine and ten through adolescence and into early adulthood. Participants will be recruited over a two-year time frame via partnerships with public and private schools near the 19 sites. The de-identified dataset created by the study will be shared broadly in an effort to allow researchers to address unforeseen scientific questions.
On September 19, the Friends of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in cooperation with the Congressional Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus sponsored a Congressional briefing, Brain Development and Our Kids’ Future: The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. The briefing’s speakers included: Sandra Brown (University of California, San Diego), Thomas Brock (Institute of Education Sciences), Sharon Levy (Boston Children’s Hospital), and Kevin Gray (Medical University of South Carolina). NIAAA Director George F. Koob and NIDA Director Nora Volkow served as discussants. COSSA joined 34 other organizations in cosponsoring the standing room only event. Several principal investigators attending the briefing also participated in meetings with their Congressional delegations to promote the project.