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Science Updates

Advancing the Science of the Developing Brain

August 19, 2021

Thank you for your interest in our Research Update Newsletter, dedicated to the scientific research community. Our team has been hard at work this summer.

In this issue of our quarterly newsletter, we will cover information on the Scientific Research Council Annual Retreat, the Organization for Human Brain Mapping Brainhack call for nominations, Telehealth Social Skills Groups and new publications and studies from our research program, as well as announce our annual On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium.

As always, we hope you will find this information interesting and useful, and we welcome your feedback and suggestions for future issues.


Scientific Research Council Annual Retreat

From July 21st-29th, the Scientific Research Council convened for their annual retreat at the home of our co-founder and co-chair Brooke Garber Neidich in Wainscott, NY. The Council discussed the partnership between the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Child Mind Institute to revamp mental health care for children and youth across Greece and reviewed a number of other initiatives including the progress of the Autism Center: Research Program’s work on neurosubtyping, new studies made possible by the Center for the Developing Brain using Ultra-High Field MRI, and MindLogger development updates.

Several special guests joined, including Stelios Georgiades, PhD, Chair in Autism & Neurodevelopment at McMaster Children’s Hospital, and John Piacentini, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine and Director of the Child OCD, Anxiety, & Tic Disorders Program at the UCLA Semel Institute.

CRISIS Survey Townhall Gives Families a First Look at Survey Findings

Every year, the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) holds the largest Brainhack event the week before the annual meeting. This Brainhack is an event where scientists from around the globe gather to collaborate together on exciting new projects that push the limits of the state of the art in human neuroscience.

OHBM’s Open Science Special Interest Group, led by Aki Nikolaidis, PhD, research scientist at the Center for the Developing Brain, organizes and runs this event each year. This event is always one of the most dynamic periods of neuroscientific progress, and the OHBM 2021 Brainhack was no exception. From June 16th to 18th, over 200 scientists came together across 32 countries to work on 24 projects over the course of the week. Projects including development of new standards for creating open-source tools for analyzing neuroimaging data, writing code to support the next generation of high-performance neuroimaging data analysis, and high-quality open-source tools for analysis of EEG data.

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2021 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

The On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium is the Child Mind Institute’s annual celebration of scientific achievement in child and adolescent psychiatry, psychology and developmental neuroscience, bringing together world-class researchers with children’s mental health care experts, educators, parents and young people interested in the advances that are revolutionizing our understanding of brain and mental health and learning disorders. This symposium celebrates the spirit of scientific collaboration and stewardship, and it highlights seminal contributions to our understanding of the brain and behavior.

The 2021 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium will be held virtually on Tuesday, October 5. The symposium will celebrate the work of Dr. Yasmin Hurd, the Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience and the Director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai and the winner of our Sarah Gund Prize for Research and Mentorship in Child Mental Health. The symposium will feature a roundtable discussion focused on our understanding of the impact of marijuana use on brain function and development in adolescents, and on implications for mental health outcomes and practical advice for parents lead by Wilson Compton, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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New Paper From the Autism Center to Be Published in ‘Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice’

The Autism Center: Research Program has received confirmation that their manuscript entitled “The Utility of Parent-Report Screening Tools in Differentiating Autism vs. ADHD in School-Age Children” has been accepted for peer-review publication in the journal Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice, a major peer-reviewed international journal, that publishes research of direct and practical relevance to help improve the quality of life for individuals with autism or autism-related disorders.

The paper assesses the performance of three parent-report measures in discriminating autism spectrum disorder from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder without autism spectrum disorder in school-age, verbally fluent children.

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New Collaborative Study With the National Institute of Mental Health on Mood, Sleep and Motor Activity

The Child Mind Institute is collaborating with the National Institute of Mental Health on a new, year-long research study called The Rhythms and Blues Tracking of Mood, Sleep and Motor Activity in Youth in the General Community (R&B) Study. The study will track mood, sleep patterns and motor activity in youth from the Healthy Brain Network Initiative in order to advance existing research in identifying links between mood disorders and these domains. The R&B study will be looking in particular at youth who reported changes in mood, sleep, activity and/or behavior over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.