The National Institutes of Health recently awarded $7.5 million to the University of Rochester Medical Center to follow more than 300 local kids for seven years as part of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study.
Findings are leading to a better understanding of how experiences in adolescents like sleep, screen time and family conflict impact the brain and play a role in mental illness, i.e. depression and suicide.
URMC is one of 21 sites across the country following 11,750 children through early adulthood.
“We are immensely proud of the part that the University of Rochester plays in the ABCD study,” said John Foxe, director of the UR Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience. “That children here in Rochester are part of a major national study, and are contributing to our knowledge of brain development, is really fantastic and gives the Rochester community a voice in how national health policy is developed over the coming decade.”
Through 2026, URMC will collect data on 340 local participants. The study is looking at how biological development, behaviors and experiences impact brain maturation and other aspects of subjects’ lives, including academic achievement, social development and overall health.
“Webster CSD is pleased to continue its support of the landmark ABCD study being conducted here in Rochester and across the country,” Superintendent Carmen Gumina said. “The Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience continues to be at the forefront of dynamic research projects like ABCD that provide enhanced understanding of adolescent brain development. As educators, we are grateful for this continued study that will certainly make a difference in the health and well-being of our students.”
To date, data from the study has yielded 32 research papers.
“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 developing adolescent brain,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Since the participants are now in their vulnerable middle school years or are beginning high school, this is a critical time to learn more about what enhances or disrupts a young person’s life trajectory.”