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ABCD Study News!

Happy New Year!

The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Consortium wishes our participants and their families a happy and healthy 2019!

New year, new look! Check out these updates to the ABCD newsletter layout:

  • Scientists of any age can learn more about the science behind ABCD and see how data are used in the academic community.
  • Student artwork, quotes, and questions are highlighted in the updated Students’ Space section.
  • Our new Families’ Place features evidence-based information about child and adolescent development.

ABCD Science

ABCD ParticipantThe ABCD Study has completed enrollment!

Nearly 12,000 participants have joined the ABCD Study since its launch in September 2016. Thank you to all the ABCD families for so graciously donating your time and energy to help the study reach this important milestone! Read the National Institutes of Health press announcement celebrating enrollment completion.

11,874 participants enrolled in the study at ages 9–10, including 2,104 multiples (twins and triplets).

ABCD Study Investigators publish research about screen media activity

Dr. Martin Paulus, ABCD Study investigator at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Oklahoma, along with several other ABCD Study Investigators, published a scientific article about the impact of screen media activity (e.g., watching television or videos, playing video games, or using social media) on brain development. The data summarized in the article were collected from ABCD Study participants across all 21 sites. Among the article’s highlights are that (1) screen media activity is a common recreational activity in youth and (2) certain types of screen media activity may be associated with specific brain structural patterns.

In a recent segment of the television news program 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper interviewed Dr. Gaya Dowling, Project Director for the ABCD Study, about the impact of screen time on adolescent brain development. Dr. Dowling noted, “It won’t be until we follow [the participants] over time that we will see if there are outcomes that are associated with the differences that we’re seeing in this single snapshot.” Read about this research in The New York Times.

Did You Know?

Does your child struggle to adjust to school schedules and homework after holiday breaks? You might find this guide by Dr. Peg Dawson helpful in developing homework routines.

Originally published by the National Association of School Psychologists, and reposted by the Child Mind Institute, Dr. Dawson’s recommendations include two key strategies to reduce homework hassles: setting up routines and developing reward systems to keep up motivation. Click here to read more and here to download a daily homework planner and incentive planning sheet.


Picture (above) credit:
Dublin Library



Child at computer
Photo credit: Gili Yaari/NurPhoto via Getty Images



Students' Space

Students' Space poster

Q&ASince we love hearing what our participants are curious about, we have added a new feature to the assessment feedback form to give students and parents/guardians a forum where they can ask questions about study procedures and findings, teen health, and development. We will do our best to answer them in this newsletter space, beginning with this question from a student participant about magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):

Brain picture“How does MRI see my brain so well?”

MRI takes pictures of your brain and creates high-definition three-dimensional images. The images show your brain from top to bottom and from side to side, revealing the physical structures inside. A special type of MRI, called fMRI (short for functional magnetic resonance imaging), shows what your brain looks like while it’s thinking about something, like a funny joke or a difficult math problem. When a part of the brain is working hard, it needs more oxygen, just as your lungs need more oxygen when they’re working hard. fMRI lets scientists see when a part of the brain uses more or less oxygen. When you do a math problem, for example, more oxygen flows to the parts of your brain that are working to solve the problem. If you do this while having an fMRI, scientists can see your brain “in action.” So, fMRI helps scientists see which parts of the brain are important for thinking about different things.

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