Development of cortical anatomical properties from early childhood to early adulthood

Neuroimage. 2013 Aug 1;76:216-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.03.021. Epub 2013 Mar 21.


Human brain matures in temporal and regional heterogeneity, with some areas matured at early adulthood. In this study, the relationship of cortical structural developments between different cortical sheet regions is systematically analyzed using interregional correlation coefficient and network methods. Specifically, 951 longitudinal T1 brain MR images from 445 healthy subjects with ages from 3 to 20 years old are used. The result shows that the development of cortex reaches a turning point at around 7 years of age: a) the cortical thickness reaches its highest value and also the cortical folding becomes stable at this age; b) both global and local efficiencies of anatomical correlation networks reach the lowest and highest values at this age, respectively; and c) the change of anatomical correlation networks reach the highest level at this age, and the convergence of different anatomical correlation networks starts to decrease from this age. These results might inspire more studies on why there exists a turning point at this age from different viewpoints. For example, is there any change of synaptic pruning, or is it related to the starting of school life? And how can we benefit from this in the real life?

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development*
  • Young Adult