NIH Study Probes Impact of Heavy Screen Time on Young Brains (Bloomberg):
“Brain scans of adolescents who are heavy users of smartphones, tablets and video games look different from those of less active screen users, preliminary results from an ongoing study funded by the National Institutes of Health show … That’s the finding of the first batch of scans of 4,500 nine- to 10-year-olds. Scientists will follow those children and thousands more for a decade to see how childhood experiences, including the use of digital devices, affect their brains, emotional development and mental health…
Early results from the $300 million study, called Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD), have determined that children who spend more than two hours of daily screen time score lower on thinking and language tests. A major data release is scheduled for early 2019 … Teenagers now spend an average of 4 1/2 hours a day on their mobile phones, “60 Minutes” reported.”
ABCD study completes enrollment, announces opportunities for scientific engagement (National Institutes of Health release):
“The National Institutes of Health announced today that enrollment for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is now complete and, in early 2019, scientists will have access to baseline data from all ABCD Study participants.
There are 11,874 youth, ages 9–10, participating in the study, including 2,100 young people who are twins or triplets. All will be followed through young adulthood…
The study—being conducted at 21 research sites around the country—will use advanced neuroimaging to observe brain development in children throughout adolescence, while tracking social, behavioral, physical and environmental factors that may affect brain development and other health outcomes.
Anonymized study data are being made available to the broad research community on a regular basis. This will allow scientists to analyze data and ask novel questions that were not even anticipated in the original study planning. Offering these data while the study is in progress means that both ABCD investigators and non-ABCD researchers will have access to the datasets to pursue their own research interests…
Researchers interested in accessing these data can visit the NIMH Data Archive. As findings are published in various journals by both ABCD investigators and other scientists, study coordinators will continue to post information on the study website.”
The Study in Context:
- Only 5% of US children ages 8–11 follow screen time, sleep and exercise guidelines recommended for brain development
- Large study to assess impact on early brain development of financial assistance to low-income mothers
- Parents’ educational and income levels (not breastfeeding per se) account for the brain development gains in breastfed children
- Both maternal and parental obesity linked to young children’s neurodevelopmental delays