The University of Minnesota (UMN) began enrolling families in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study in December 2016. More than 300 families have joined the study, and we are so grateful for their partnership and dedication! Led by Drs. Monica Luciana and William Iacono, the ABCD team at UMN has enrolled twin participants through the Minnesota Twin Registry at the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research (MCTFR), several sets of triplets, and a family with five children, including two sets of twins! The UMN ABCD team has also recruited over 130 nontwin participants from the local community. UMN leads the twin hub of the ABCD Consortium, which includes three additional sites at Virginia Commonwealth University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Colorado.
In 1979, Tom Bouchard at UMN initiated the famous “Twins Reared Apart” study, and in 1982, David Lykken founded the Minnesota Twin Registry. But it wasn’t until 1987 that we were awarded our first grant from the National Institutes of Health, and we formed the MCTFR as we know it today. We recently celebrated our 30th anniversary!
Members of the UMN ABCD team:
Back Row (left to right): Kevin Haroian, Dr. Monica Luciana,
Dr. Bill Iacono, and Alex Carlson
Front Row (left to right): Rachel Taggart, Makana Bailey,
Marina Bryants, and Molly Waterman
Our ABCD team (see photo) is enthusiastic about contributing to this long tradition of excellence, extending the MCTFR’s studies to include today’s adolescents and their families. The ABCD Study hopes to learn about numerous facets of cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development during adolescence. Studying twins helps to clarify how genetic versus environmental factors impact these developmental processes. We are excited to be nearing completion of our baseline visits and to welcome back our wonderful families for their follow-up visits!
Our ABCD participants come from all over the state. During their visits, they are treated to pizza party lunches catered by Davanni’s Pizza, a local favorite. Our Center for Magnetic Resonance Research is next door to the University’s TCF Bank Stadium, home of Minnesota Golden Gophers football! In extremely chilly weather, participants can tunnel part of the way from the parking garage to the psychology building (Elliott Hall) using the University’s “Gopher Way,” an underground system of tunnels that connects various buildings on campus.
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Dr. Deborah Yurgelun-Todd, Principal Investigator at the University of Utah, shares why the ABCD Study is interesting to families in her community: “We’ve really enjoyed how many children really want to know about this,” she said. “They’re curious about what the brain is, and what that has to do with their ability to learn or how well they do in a sport.” Click here to read the full article. (The Salt Lake Tribune, 3/12/18)