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Examining Adolescent Brain Development

June 1, 2021

U researchers are working with colleagues at 20 other institutions nationwide to determine how substance use affects brain function, behavior, and health in youth by participating in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. Using interviews, tests of cognitive function, saliva samples, and brain imaging, the study will follow over 11,000 children throughout the country as they go through adolescence. Monica Luciana, PhD, and William Iacono, PhD, both with the Department of Psychology, are leading the U’s ABCD study site. By examining how kids’ brains and behaviors change over time, they hope to learn more about the associations between risk-taking behaviors like substance use and the emergence of psychological disorders. And, by examining genetic versus environmental influences, they hope to glean information they can use to promote health and well-being in young people as they grow into adulthood.

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