New Study May Reveal Secrets Of The Teenage Brain

A new study will track the brain development of teens for a decade.

The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development, or ABCD, is a new study that may shed light on the mysteries of the developing brain.

The ABCD, the first study of its kind or scope, will track 10,000 children for a decade, beginning when they are 9 or 10 years old. Throughout the study, their brains will be scanned to understand how their brain structure and function changes throughout adolescence.

The study, a collaboration between Nora. D Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Institutes of Health, was originally designed to investigate the effects of substances such as alcohol or marijuana on the developing brain. However, in the process, researchers realized they needed to establish a baseline of what the healthy development of the teenage brain looked like first — something still unknown.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

The resulting study will amass large amounts of data and “biomarkers” that would indicate brain development. According to Volkow and Koob, “Pediatricians could use such biomarkers to identify children at risk for depression or ADHD,” or pediatric neurologists could compare the brain of a teen with a brain injury to that of a healthy brain.

Read more about the study on STAT.