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Curr Biol. 2017 Jun 5;27(11):1561-1572.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.04.051. Epub 2017 May 25.

Modular Segregation of Structural Brain Networks Supports the Development of Executive Function in Youth.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
2
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
3
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
4
Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
5
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
6
Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Electronic address: sattertt@mail.med.upenn.edu.

Abstract

The human brain is organized into large-scale functional modules that have been shown to evolve in childhood and adolescence. However, it remains unknown whether the underlying white matter architecture is similarly refined during development, potentially allowing for improvements in executive function. In a sample of 882 participants (ages 8-22) who underwent diffusion imaging as part of the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, we demonstrate that structural network modules become more segregated with age, with weaker connections between modules and stronger connections within modules. Evolving modular topology facilitates global network efficiency and is driven by age-related strengthening of hub edges present both within and between modules. Critically, both modular segregation and network efficiency are associated with enhanced executive performance and mediate the improvement of executive functioning with age. Together, results delineate a process of structural network maturation that supports executive function in youth.

KEYWORDS:

DTI; MRI; adolescence; brain; connectome; development; executive; module; network; tractography

PMID:
28552358
PMCID:
PMC5491213
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2017.04.051
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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