During adolescence, the brain is actively undergoing development, with much of the formative brain functioning and cognitive skills being established. Unfortunately, the teenage brain is also susceptible to wrong choices, and this includes drug use that may inhibit or impair proper brain development.
This is the reason behind the recent initiative of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to spearhead a comprehensive study on the effect of certain substances on the adolescent brain. Some of the substances identified to be part of the study include marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco.
In this light, NIH has handpicked researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder to join the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. This series of studies aims to look into how drugs can affect the development of teenage brains. The university plans to do this by using the resources of the Intermountain Neuroimaging Consortium, in collaboration with the Institute for Behavioral Genetics and the Institute of Cognitive Science.
CU-Boulder professor and Institute of Cognitive Science director Marie Banich said that the breakthrough study could provide answers to some of the most essential questions surrounding teen health and drug use. “Adolescence is a time when the brain is quite sensitive to environmental influences, and the way the brain gets wired during this developmental period has lifelong implications,” Banich said via a news item.
The study will be financially supported by the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), and its results may change future policies on health and education.