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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2015 Mar;16(3):159-72. doi: 10.1038/nrn3901.

The connectomics of brain disorders.

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Monash Clinical and Imaging Neuroscience, School of Psychological Sciences and Monash Biomedical Imaging, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia 3168.
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre and Melbourne School of Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia 3053.
1] Systems Neuroscience Group, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston, Queensland, Australia 4029. [2] Metro North Mental Health Service, The Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia 4029.


Pathological perturbations of the brain are rarely confined to a single locus; instead, they often spread via axonal pathways to influence other regions. Patterns of such disease propagation are constrained by the extraordinarily complex, yet highly organized, topology of the underlying neural architecture; the so-called connectome. Thus, network organization fundamentally influences brain disease, and a connectomic approach grounded in network science is integral to understanding neuropathology. Here, we consider how brain-network topology shapes neural responses to damage, highlighting key maladaptive processes (such as diaschisis, transneuronal degeneration and dedifferentiation), and the resources (including degeneracy and reserve) and processes (such as compensation) that enable adaptation. We then show how knowledge of network topology allows us not only to describe pathological processes but also to generate predictive models of the spread and functional consequences of brain disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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