• Press Release

Mount Sinai Begins Recruitment for Landmark Study of Adolescent Brain Development

  • New York, NY
  • (September 13, 2016)

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has begun recruitment for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States.  The landmark study by the National Institutes of Health will follow the biological and behavioral development of approximately 10,000 children beginning at ages 9¬¬-10 through adolescence into early adulthood.  Recruitment will be done over a two-year period through partnerships with public and private schools near 19 research sites across the country as well as through twin registries.

Adolescence is a time of extraordinary physical, emotional, and intellectual growth as well as a changing social environment full of new challenges and opportunities that help shape a young person’s adult identity, health, and well-being. There is much to learn about how varied adolescent experiences (such as participation in extracurricular activities; playing video games; sleep habits; head injuries from sports; and experimentation with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or other substances) affect development and vice versa. This is particularly true in our rapidly changing world, which is now dominated by social media and other forms of communication in which adolescents readily engage.   

During the course of the next decade, Mount Sinai researchers will use advanced brain imaging, interviews, and behavioral testing to determine how childhood experiences interact with each other and with a child’s changing biology to affect brain development and, ultimately, social, behavioral, academic, health, and other outcomes.  

“The standardized, multi-system big-data framework approach that we will use to study a large number of young study participants will yield valuable insight about how a variety of biological events and environmental exposures affect brain development,” says Rita Goldstein, PhD, Chief of the Neuropsychoimaging of Addiction and Related Conditions (NARC) research group and the Brain Imaging Center (BIC) and a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and leader of the study at Mount Sinai.  “Integrative multi-modal neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies that we will use in this study have not been conducted at this scale before and so this work is both exciting and crucially important.”

Dr. Goldstein will work with collaborators from Yale University to collect mental and physical health information, including data from high-resolution brain scans and genetic material.  They will also collect information about sleep patterns, diet and exercise, social media use and other environmental factors.  Together, the Mount Sinai and Yale researchers will recruit more than 1,000 children, constituting a major contribution to the study total.  

In addition to creating a comprehensive informational database and revealing the biological and environmental building blocks that best contribute to successful and resilient young adults, the ABCD study promises to inform future educational strategies, child development innovations, research priorities, more effective public health interventions, and science-based policy decisions.

For more information about the ABCD Study, please visit:  http://addictionresearch.nih.gov/adolescent-brain-cognitive-development-study

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai is a national and international source of unrivaled education, translational research and discovery, and collaborative clinical leadership ensuring that we deliver the highest quality care—from prevention to treatment of the most serious and complex human diseases. The Health System includes more than 7,200 physicians and features a robust and continually expanding network of multispecialty services, including more than 400 ambulatory practice locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of the Top 20 Best Hospitals in the country and the Icahn School of Medicine as one of the Top 20 Best Medical Schools in country. Mount Sinai Health System hospitals are consistently ranked regionally by specialty and our physicians in the top 1% of all physicians nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

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