What helps and hurts the teenage brain? A revolutionary new study hopes to find out how kids’ minds are shaped during this crucial and turbulent stage of life.

Researchers are following more than 11,000 children for the next decade, studying how dozens of factors — including drugs and alcohol, diet and exercise, screen time, academic and social stress, sleep patterns, sibling and parent relationships — impact their brains.

As part of TODAY’s “Brain Power” series, NBC special anchor Maria Shriver talked with 9-year-old Nick and 10-year-old Gemma, who are both taking part in the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development Study, or “ABCD,” launched by the National Institutes of Health.

Nick thinks his brain is “a very big one,” while Gemma calls hers “really cool” and the most important part of her body. Experts say they and the other young participants will provide important clues to how modern childhood impacts teens.

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