NIH Releases First Data Set From Unprecedented Study on Adolescent Brain Development


Press release

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Over 7,500 children recruited for the study to date; data available for the first 4,500

The National Institutes of Health released an unprecedented dataset from the Adolescent Cognitive Brain Development (ABCD) study to the scientific community on Tuesday. To date, more than 7,500 young people and their families have been recruited for the study, well over half of the target for participants. Approximately 30 terabytes of data (roughly three times the size of the Library of Congress collection), obtained from the first 4,500 participants, will be available to scientists around the world to conduct research on the many factors influencing development. cerebral, cognitive, social and emotional. . the ABCD study is the largest long-term study of brain development and children’s health in the United States.

This interim version provides high-quality baseline data on a large sample of 9-10 year olds, including baseline participant demographics, physical and mental health assessments, substance use, culture. and the environment, neurocognition, structural and functional tables. poorly processed neuroimaging data and brain images, as well as biological data such as pubertal hormone analyzes. The data will be made available via the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) data archive, accessible to researchers who obtain a NIMH Data Archive Account. All personally identifiable information is removed from the data to ensure the privacy and anonymity of participants.

“By now sharing this interim baseline data set with researchers, the ABCD study enables scientists to begin analyzing and publishing new research on adolescent brain development,” said Nora D. Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). “As expected, drug use is minimal among this young cohort, which is essential because it will allow us to compare the brain images before and after the start of substance use in people who start using them, thus providing necessary information on how experimenting with drugs, alcohol and nicotine affects developing brains.

“Sharing ABCD data and other related data sets with the research community, in an infrastructure that enables easy querying, data access and cloud computing, will help us understand many aspects of health. and human development. Said Joshua A. Gordon, MD, Ph.D., director of NIMH. “These datasets provide extraordinary opportunities for computational neuroscientists to solve problems of direct relevance to public health.”

This comprehensive data set, which will be disaggregated by gender, racial / ethnic group, and socioeconomic status, will allow researchers to address many questions related to adolescent brain development to help inform future prevention and treatment efforts. , public health strategies and political decisions, including, but not limited to:

  • How do sports injuries impact developmental outcomes?
  • What is the relationship between screen time and brain and social development?
  • How does occasional or regular use of substances (eg, alcohol, nicotine, marijuana) affect learning and brain development?
  • What are some of the factors that contribute to achievement gaps?
  • How do sleep, nutrition, and physical activity affect learning, brain development, and other health outcomes across racial / ethnic and socio-economic groups?
  • What brain pathways are associated with the onset and progression of mental health disorders, and do these pathways differ by gender?
  • What is the relationship between substance use and mental illness?
  • How do genetic and environmental factors contribute to brain development?

“Collecting and publishing this baseline data is a critical step in ongoing efforts to refine our understanding of the link between adolescent alcohol use and long-term harmful effects on brain development and function. said George F. Koob, Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Recruitment of participants began in September 2016 through outreach activities with public, charter and private schools, as well as twin registries in Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri and Virginia. The ABCD study is designed to include a diverse population that reflects the demographics of the United States, but this preliminary data may not fully capture this diversity as enrollment is not yet complete. So far, 7,637 youth have been enrolled, including 6,399 single participants and 1,238 twins / multiples, reaching a recruitment milestone of 66%. The study aims to enroll a total of 11,500 children by the end of 2018. The next annual data release will include the full cohort of participants.

Participants will be followed for 10 years, during which data is collected on a semi-annual and annual basis through interviews and behavioral tests. Neuroimaging data, including high-resolution MRI, is collected every two years to measure changes in brain structure and function.

the ABCD coordination center and Data Analysis and Informatics Center are hosted at the University of California, San Diego and recruitment is underway in 21 studies sites Across the country. For more information, please visit the ABCD website at

The ABCD study is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Cancer Institute, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health and the School Health Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with additional partnerships with the National Institute of Justice, the CDC Division of Violence Prevention, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information on the adolescent brain, visit:

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute conducts a wide variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance the science of addiction. Factsheets on the effects of drugs on health and information on research and other activities of NIDA, now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call the NIDA DrugPubs Research Dissemination Center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email your inquiries to drugpubs @ nida. Online ordering is available at The NIDA media guide is available at, and its easy-to-read website can be found at You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): NIMH’s mission is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illness through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure. For more information, visit the NIMH website

About the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is the leading US agency responsible for conducting and supporting research into the causes, consequences, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of alcohol use disorders. The NIAAA also disseminates research results to general, professional and academic audiences. Additional information and publications on alcohol research are available at:

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):The NIH, the national agency for medical research, comprises 27 institutes and centers and is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the principal federal agency that conducts and supports basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and studies the causes, treatments, and cures for common and rare diseases. For more information about the NIH and its programs, visit

NIH… Transforming Discovery into Health®


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.