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The HEALthy Brain and Child Development (HBCD) is the largest multi-site longitudinal prospective study in the US. The national cohort is composed of local pregnant persons and children who continue with HBCD for 5+ years. HBCD seeks to examine brain and child development amongst substance and environmental exposures, social, cultural, and genetic influences.


Repeated electroencephalography (EEG) assessments are performed throughout HBCD, starting at Visit 3 (3-9 months). EEG signals and corresponding stimuli are analyzed to measure event-related potentials (ERPs). EEG acquisition includes 4 age-adjusted tasks recorded via MagstimEGI 128 channel net, EKG lead, and Net Station Acquisition. Video resting state (RS) sets a baseline and can illustrate neural oscillations and rhythms. Visual evoked potential (VEP) is a checkerboard oscillating at 2Hz, and can show developmental changes when temporally repeated. Mismatch negativity (MMN) is a series of single syllables; the participant reacts to the varying magnitudes. Face Processing (Face) is a series of upright or inverted faces and novel objects shown briefly. EEG assessments take place at the newly developed Interdisciplinary Substance Use and Brain Injury Center (ISUBI).


HBCD piloting with 3-9-month-old infants began in 2023 at UNM. Among 8 local participants included in the pilot, all completed the 4 EEG tasks within 60 minutes, and 75% were considered successful. New EEG net capping techniques and attention-grabbing videos aided in task completion. Caregivers appreciated transparency of acquisition procedures and flexibility of participant’s seating position. Pre-scan scripts are predicted to increase the success rates even further.


These four tasks (RS, VEP, MMN, Face) cover a variety of possible neurological developments. Training of research personnel and pilot testing at UNM indicate our site’s readiness for assessment of children in the HBCD main study as they age into assessment window. The pilot stage also demonstrated feasibility and acceptability of assessment.



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