More than 10,000 children will participate in National Institutes of Health study of brain, social, emotional, and cognitive development

Mount Sinai logoThe 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:

About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is in the “Honor Roll” of best hospitals in America, ranked No. 15 nationally in the 2016-2017 “Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report.  The Mount Sinai Hospital is also ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 hospitals in Geriatrics, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Ear, Nose & Throat, and is in the top 50 in four other specialties. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 10 nationally for Ophthalmology, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report in “Best Children’s Hospitals.

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