Developmental changes in functional brain networks from birth through adolescence

Hum Brain Mapp. 2019 Apr 1;40(5):1434-1444. doi: 10.1002/hbm.24457. Epub 2018 Dec 23.


Investigation of the brain connectome using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and measures derived from graph theory analysis has emerged as a new approach to study brain development, cognitive function, and neurophysiological disorders. Here we use graph theory analysis to examine the influence of age, sex, and neurocognitive measures on developmental changes to the global and regional topology of functional brain networks derived from fMRI data recorded in 189 healthy subjects from the age of 0-18 years during rest. We observed that Global Efficiency and Rich-Club coefficient increased with age and Local Efficiency and Small-Worldness decreased with age, while Modularity at the global level showed an inverted U-shaped trajectory during development. Marginally significant differences were observed in Local Efficiency, Small-Worldness, and Modularity at a global level between boys and girls throughout development. We also examine the effects of neurocognitive measures in boys and girls globally and locally. Our results provide new insight to understand brain maturation of functional brain connectome and its relation to cognitive development from birth through adolescence.

Keywords: brain; connectivity; fMRI; imaging; network.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition
  • Connectome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging
  • Nerve Net / growth & development*
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Sex Characteristics