The first few years of life are a period of quick growth and brain development. There are many factors that can affect how children develop, yet little is known about how these factors impact health and other outcomes. The HBCD Study will help us understand how child development may be affected by exposures to social and environmental experiences and conditions, including exposure to substances (such as opioids, alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis) during pregnancy.
Recent advances in technology and developments in research allow us to explore in more detail how these exposures interact with brain development and other social and health outcomes. Results from the HBCD Study will provide information that parents and health professionals can use to enhance the well-being of children.
Together, we can find answers to questions that you and many other parents might ask, such as:
- How do genes and experiences influence development and behavior?
- How does early contact to opioids, tobacco, and other substances affect development?
- Are there key experiences early in development that affect later health and well-being of a child?
- Are there windows during early development that present opportunities to step in that will help children be healthier and happier?
- How do children’s interactions with their parent or caretaker affect their health?