The Healthy Brain and Child Development – HBCD – Study (Dean)

What is the HBCD Study?
The HBCD Study will enroll a large cohort of participating families from across the U.S. and follow them and their children through early childhood. The researchers want to better understand how the brain develops and is affected by exposure to substances and other environmental conditions during pregnancy and after birth. Researchers will collect information during pregnancy and through early childhood, including:

  • The Healthy Brain and Child Development (HBCD) Study Pictures of the brain
  • Growth measurements
  • Samples of blood and saliva (biosamples)
  • Medical and family history surveys
  • Information about their social, emotional, and cognitive development

Who can participate?

Participating families will be individuals in the 2ndor 3rd trimester of pregnancy or who have recently given birth and their children.

It is important that people who join the study are from diverse backgrounds, with varied income levels, education, and living environments.

What will study participants be expected to do?

The HBCD Study begins with 3-4 visits in the first year with only 1-2 visits in subsequent years. During these visits, you will be asked to complete interviews and questionnaires.

In addition, you and/or your child will be asked to:

  • Provide samples, such as blood and saliva
  • Participate in behavioral assessments
  • Wear activity and/or heart rate trackers for brief periods of time
  • Undergo safe, non-invasive methods that provide pictures of your child’s brain and measure the brain activity of your child

What about costs?

All study assessments and procedures will be provided to you free of charge. You will be compensated for the time spent participating in the study.

Will personal information be protected?

  • All identifying information from or about you will be kept private and confidential, as required by law
  • Your family’s information and samples will be stored without personally identifiable information, along with that of others in the study. Researchers will learn from your contributions for many years to come.

For more information, please visit
Contact: or 608-265-6541

PIs – Doug Dean, III, PhD
Keywords – Infant & Child Development, Brain Imaging/Neuroimaging