The first few years of an infant’s life are vastly important for development. Long before enrolling in school, elements of their environment can affect the trajectories of children’s outcomes for the rest of their lives. In an effort to studies these environmental factors, the National Institutes of Health have awarded Vanderbilt a grant as part of a multi-institutional overview of variables influencing infant and child brain development, including substance exposure.
Substance use in pregnant women has increased over the past decade, highlighting the importance of efforts to understand how environmental and other exposures during pregnancy affect brain development and child outcomes. The PRELUDE consortium for the HEALthy Brain and Child Development study will recruit 2720 pregnant women in the 2nd and 3rd trimester and follow their children to age 10, using neuroimaging, behavioral assessments, EEG, biosample collection, and assessments of parent-child interaction and the home environment. This research will lead to greater understanding of factors affecting early childhood brain development, allowing targeted interventions and improved outcomes for mother-child dyads.