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Brain Dev. 1996 Sep-Oct;18(5):347-56.

Functional brain reorganization in children.

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Department of Neurology, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit 48201-2196, USA.


Developmental brain plasticity in association with focal brain injury is dependent on a number of factors, including age of the individual at the time of injury, size and topography of the brain lesion, maturational state of the brain system injured, integrity of brain areas surrounding and contralateral to the lesion, presence and duration of epilepsy, and medication effects. Recently developed functional neuroimaging tools now make it possible to study non-invasively several aspects of human brain functional reorganization in response to injury. Clinical models which are suitable for the study of developmental brain plasticity include patients who have undergone cortical resections for the alleviation of intractable epilepsy, patients who have sustained unilateral cerebrovascular insults at various periods of development, patients with chronic progressive unilateral brain injury such as in the Sturge-Weber syndrome, and patients with early sensory deprivation such as blind or deaf subjects. Although evidence of functional brain reorganization can be demonstrated in these models, it is emphasized that the neurobiological rules that govern intrahemispheric versus interhemispheric reorganization of function in the brain are, at present, poorly understood.

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