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Br J Radiol. 2014 Jul;87(1039):20140086. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20140086. Epub 2014 May 14.

Structural MRI connectome in development: challenges of the changing brain.

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1
1 Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Abstract

MRI connectomics is an emerging approach to study the brain as a network of interconnected brain regions. Understanding and mapping the development of the MRI connectome may offer new insights into the development of brain connectivity and plasticity, ultimately leading to improved understanding of normal development and to more effective diagnosis and treatment of developmental disorders. In this review, we describe the attempts made to date to map the whole-brain structural MRI connectome in the developing brain and pay a special attention to the challenges associated with the rapid changes that the brain is undergoing during maturation. The two main steps in constructing a structural brain network are (i) choosing connectivity measures that will serve as the network "edges" and (ii) finding an appropriate way to divide the brain into regions that will serve as the network "nodes". We will discuss how these two steps are usually performed in developmental studies and the rationale behind different strategies. Changes in local and global network properties that have been described during maturation in neonates and children will be reviewed, along with differences in network topology between typically and atypically developing subjects, for example, owing to pre-mature birth or hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy. Finally, future directions of connectomics will be discussed, addressing important steps necessary to advance the study of the structural MRI connectome in development.

PMID:
24827379
PMCID:
PMC4075590
DOI:
10.1259/bjr.20140086
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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