University of Colorado Boulder
The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study Site at the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder has been enrolling 9-and 10-year-old participants for more than a year, and is now enthusiastically welcoming families back for their first follow-up visits! Led by Dr. Marie Banich and Dr. John Hewitt, our ABCD team has enrolled nearly 300 children to date, with hundreds of visits planned through summer 2018.
CU Boulder, along with Virginia Commonwealth University, Washington University St. Louis, and the University of Minnesota, is particularly focused on recruiting same-sex twin pairs. The genetic similarity between twins makes it possible to learn more about how genetic factors influence brain and behavioral development, and we are excited to report that we have enrolled nearly 100 twin pairs at the CU site. In addition to recruiting from schools in the Front Range area near Boulder and Denver, we are directing our recruitment efforts toward twin pairs who live in the state’s rural, urban, and mountain regions.
When participants visit the CU site, they join members of our research team in hands-on activities to learn about the anatomy of the brain and its ability to change and grow. For example, they may wear vision distorting goggles that alter their perception of an object’s location (see photo), making simple actions like giving high-fives or tossing bean bags at a target, challenging. But after some practice, the brain adjusts and performance improves. This shows that the brain is flexible and can adapt to novel situations that may seem insurmountable at first. It also gets some of the giggles out before heading off to the MRI session!
The ABCD Study team at the University of Colorado Boulder. Back Row: Nicole Speer, Jen Keith, Kai Wang, Carly Carrasco-Wyant, Teryn Wilkes. Front Row: Marie Banich, Michelle Stocker, Dina Huber, Naomi Friedman, Megan Ross, Jasmin Torres, Ogechi Hippolyte, John Hewitt
Teenagers and young adults think and act differently from grownups. CU scientist Marie Banich is helping us see why.
Inspired by the mysteries of the brain, Dr. Marie Banich (Co-Principal Investigator at CU Boulder) seeks to understand how development unfolds through adolescence and beyond. “Over the years, we’ve learned that adolescence is an incredibly important time for brain development, when the brain is particularly malleable and receptive to its environment. But we only have broad brush strokes. We need a clearer picture.” Click here to read more. (Alumni Associate Magazine, 6/1/17)
ABCD Staff Member of the Month!
Congratulations, May Conley, Yale Site Coordinator/Consultant for her 24-hour help to all 21 ABCD sites!