MRI of adolescent brains activated during a memory task in ABCD study.
With permission. Source: Dr. Richard Watts and ABCD/Univ. of VT P.I. Dr. Hugh Garava
You can see how tall you’re growing, and how your older clothes don’t fit anymore. But did you know that your brain keeps changing, too? All the things you do, like playing sports or an instrument, or learning a new language, help to shape your brain as you move toward adulthood.
- How does the teen brain change over time?
- How is playing team sports or an instrument good for mental health?
- How do concussions impact achievement in school?
- How does using drugs affect learning?
- How do sleep and nutrition affect mental and physical health?
What happens in the study?
The teens in the ABCD Study will do things like:
- Participate in activities that help scientists understand how teens learn and pay attention.
- Go inside an MRI machine. The MRI is like a big doughnut-shaped magnet that takes very detailed pictures of the brain; the pictures allow scientists to see how the brain works when teens think and feel. Scientists also compare the pictures to see how they change over time, as teens continue to grow.
- Use wearable devices that can record information about sleep and exercise. Scientists use this information to learn more about teens’ health and well-being.
The ABCD Study also will collect biological information like saliva (spit) for genetic testing. Did you know that your saliva contains your complete genetic code (DNA)?
More to come
Scientists and teens will work together for the next several years in the ABCD Study, unlocking the mysteries of the developing teen brain. We’ll let you know what they discover, so keep an eye on this blog for updates.
Watch a video about how your brain works.