Study to Follow Children Through Teen Years to Look at Development, Substance Use

A new nationwide study will follow thousands of children for 10 years, starting in elementary school, in an attempt to answer questions about the risks and protective factors for adolescent substance use on the developing brain. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study will track exposure to substances (including nicotine, alcohol and marijuana), academic achievement, cognitive skills, mental health, brain structure and function, and many other variables.

By starting with youth before adolescence, the scientists will be able to assess the effects of the age of different experiences (trauma, poor nutrition, substance use) on brain development.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, will begin with 11,500 children ages 9 and 10, before they start substance use, at 19 sites around the country. Recruitment for the trial is scheduled to launch in September.

Full story of tracking children aging exposure to substance abuse  at drugfree.org

Up to 5 Percent of Children May Have Problems Related to Alcohol Exposure Before Birth

As many as 5 percent of children may have some type of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), caused by alcohol exposure before birth, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, found between 2.4 percent and 4.8 percent of children have FASD, HealthDay reports. “Knowing not to drink during pregnancy and not doing so are two different things,” particularly before a woman finds out she is pregnant, said lead researcher Philip May.

Full story of alcohol exposure to children before birth at drugfree.org