- Associated Press - Sunday, October 25, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $5 million grant to Virginia Commonwealth University to participate in a study on adolescent brain development and substance abuse.

VCU says it was selected as one of 20 U.S. research institutions that will follow about 10,000 children beginning at ages 9 and 10 through puberty and adolescence. Each child will be repeatedly assessed with MRI brain imaging and other tests to evaluate mental and physical health.

VCU says it will recruit pairs of twins to study hereditary and environmental influences on brain development.

VCU’s grant is for five years. VCU medical school associate professor James Bjork says it’s anticipated that the grant would be renewed after that.

Bjork says the study will determine the relationship between substance use and brain measures.



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