Brain connectivity in normally developing children and adolescents

Neuroimage. 2016 Jul 1;134:192-203. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.03.062. Epub 2016 Apr 4.


The developing human brain undergoes an astonishing sequence of events that continuously shape the structural and functional brain connectivity. Distinct regional variations in the timelines of maturational events (synaptogenesis and synaptic pruning) occurring at the synaptic level are reflected in brain measures at macroscopic resolution (cortical thickness and gray matter density). Interestingly, the observed brain changes coincide with cognitive milestones suggesting that the changing scaffold of brain circuits may subserve cognitive development. Recent advances in connectivity analysis propelled by graph theory have allowed, on one hand, the investigation of maturational changes in global organization of structural and functional brain networks; and on the other hand, the exploration of specific networks within the context of global brain networks. An emerging picture from several connectivity studies is a system-level rewiring that constantly refines the connectivity of the developing brain.

Keywords: Brain maturation; Cognitive development; Connectivity; Graph theory; Neuroimaging.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology