The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, said to be the largest long-term study focusing on brain development and health of children in the United States, has recently started recruiting for volunteers. This landmark study, spearheaded by the National Institute of Health, will keep track of the development of around 10,000 children across the United States between the ages 9-10 years old. The study will monitor the growth and development of these volunteers starting from their childhood up to their adolescence. The recruitment period will last for two years and will take place in various public and private schools near research centers across the United States.

By tracking approximately 10,000 children as they go through adolescence, the ABCD Study will help dispel myths about brain development and child health. Participants will include students of various races and ethnicities, schools, family income levels, and living conditions.

Researchers will be using various data collection methods such as brain imaging, interviews and behavioral testing methods to find out how childhood experiences can influence the development of the brain. The results of this study will be helpful in determine social, behavioral, academic and health outcomes. The variables which are going to be tracked in this study are sports activities, participation in video games, social media, unhealthy sleep patterns, and smoking.

NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., PhD stated that the brain usually undergoes development until the mid-20s and that during this time, many factors can affect neurobehavioral development. He believes that through this study, all of us will be able to identify how some biological and environmental factors can affect brain development and how adolescents can develop well into healthy and productive people later in life.

The results of the ABCD Study will provide information that will help promote health, well-being, and successful growth and development of children; it is viewed as a collective effort of families, school superintendents, principals, and teachers, health professionals and policymakers.

This study is being supported by various institutions such as the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Division of Adolescent and School Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.


The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. Accessed at 24 November 2016.

Press release. Recruitment Begins for Landmark Study of Adolescent Brain Development. Retrieved November 24, 2016, from The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH),