HCP Development

Studying the Developing Human Connectome

How Does Normal Childhood Development Affect Connections in the Brain?

Childhood and adolescence are times of dramatic physical, emotional, social, and intellectual growth and change. Yet there is much we do not know about how normal development and childhood experiences (learning to read, playing a sport, or interacting socially) shape the brain’s wiring.

Thanks to recent technological advances pioneered by the foundational Human Connectome Project study of healthy young adults, we can now explore, in unprecedented detail, how the brain typically grows and connects during childhood and the transition through puberty to adolescence and young adulthood. Data collected will be shared broadly so that researchers can learn as much as possible from it for years to come.

Research focus

  • Match protocols across 5 sites
  • Include typically developing children and adolescents in the age range of 5-21

Data being collected

  • Lifespan MRI protocol
  • Puberty development
  • Physical activity
  • Systemic health
  • Genetic status
  • Stress, sleep patterns, adversity

Study Aims

Aim 1 will be to optimize existing HCP Lifespan Pilot project protocols on the widely available Prisma platform to respect practical constraints in studying healthy children and adolescents over a wide age range and will also collect a matched set of data on the original Skyra and proposed Prisma HCP protocols to serve as a linchpin between the past and present efforts. 

Aim 2 will be to collect 1500 high quality neuroimaging and associated behavioral datasets on healthy children and adolescents in the age range of 5-21, using matched protocols across sites, enabling robust characterization of age-related changes in network properties including connectivity, network integrity, response properties during tasks, and behavior. 

Aim 3 will be to collect and analyze longitudinal subsamples, task, and phenotypic measures that constitute intensive sub-studies of inflection points of health-relevant behavioral changes within specific developmental phases. 

Aim 4 will capitalize on our success in sharing data in the HCP, and use established tools, platforms and procedures to make all data publicly available through the Connectome Coordinating Facility (CCF).