About the Study

The HEALthy Brain and Child Development (HBCD) Study is the largest, long-term study of early brain and child development in the United States.

Who We Are

This ambitious project, funded through a partnership of a dozen Institutes, Centers, and Offices of the National Institutes of Health, will enroll approximately 7,500 participating families from across the United States and follow them from pregnancy through early childhood. The HBCD Research Consortium consists of an Administrative Core, a Data Coordinating Center, and 25 research sites across the country (see map). 

​What We Do

Leading researchers in the fields of child development and neuroscience will work with participating families and their children to understand how the brain develops and is affected by exposure to substances and other environmental, social, and biological factors during pregnancy and after birth. What we learn from this research will have lasting impacts on future generations of children.

Father smiles at baby who is laying on the stretcher of an MRI machineThe study will collect information beginning at birth and through early childhood, including anthropometrics (growth measures); medical and family history; biospecimens (samples such as urine and blood); and social, emotional, and cognitive function.​ Structural and functional brain imaging are also done to help see the different parts of the brain and measure activity.