This is your child's brain on drugs. Or not. Either way, a new 10-year study aims to crack open the secrets of kids' craniums as they age into adolescence, taking into account everything from drug and alcohol use to sports and sleep patterns. The University of Vermont is one of 21 research institutions across the country participating in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD), the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the U.S.
Researchers in the fields of adolescent development and neuroscience, funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, will track some 10,000 children, starting when they are 9 or 10. Every other year, participants will complete a full assessment, lasting six to seven hours, involving interviews and questionnaires for both parents and children about moods, screen time and family history; there are also memory games, T-shirt giveaways and snack breaks. Kids also undergo an MRI, during which they can earn points for toys and gift cards by playing more games during the imagining procedure. Parents, meanwhile, are compensated $150 per assessment.