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Hum Brain Mapp. 2017 Aug;38(8):3823-3835. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23631. Epub 2017 May 11.

Functional hypergraph uncovers novel covariant structures over neurodevelopment.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Applied Mathematics and Computational Science Graduate Group, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.


Brain development during adolescence is marked by substantial changes in brain structure and function, leading to a stable network topology in adulthood. However, most prior work has examined the data through the lens of brain areas connected to one another in large-scale functional networks. Here, we apply a recently developed hypergraph approach that treats network connections (edges) rather than brain regions as the unit of interest, allowing us to describe functional network topology from a fundamentally different perspective. Capitalizing on a sample of 780 youth imaged as part of the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, this hypergraph representation of resting-state functional MRI data reveals three distinct classes of subnetworks (hyperedges): clusters, bridges, and stars, which respectively represent homogeneously connected, bipartite, and focal architectures. Cluster hyperedges show a strong resemblance to previously-described functional modules of the brain including somatomotor, visual, default mode, and salience systems. In contrast, star hyperedges represent highly localized subnetworks centered on a small set of regions, and are distributed across the entire cortex. Finally, bridge hyperedges link clusters and stars in a core-periphery organization. Notably, developmental changes within hyperedges are ordered in a similar core-periphery fashion, with the greatest developmental effects occurring in networked hyperedges within the functional core. Taken together, these results reveal a novel decomposition of the network organization of human brain, and further provide a new perspective on the role of local structures that emerge across neurodevelopment. Hum Brain Mapp 38:3823-3835, 2017.


brain network; core-periphery; functional connectivity; network modules

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