Review ARTICLE

Front. Syst. Neurosci., 20 May 2010 | doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2010.00021

Typical and atypical development of functional human brain networks: insights from resting-state fMRI

  • 1 Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA
  • 2 Program in Neuroscience, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA
  • 3 Graduate Program in Biomedical Informatics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA
  • 4 Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA

Over the past several decades, structural MRI studies have provided remarkable insights into human brain development by revealing the trajectory of gray and white matter maturation from childhood to adolescence and adulthood. In parallel, functional MRI studies have demonstrated changes in brain activation patterns accompanying cognitive development. Despite these advances, studying the maturation of functional brain networks underlying brain development continues to present unique scientific and methodological challenges. Resting-state fMRI (rsfMRI) has emerged as a novel method for investigating the development of large-scale functional brain networks in infants and young children. We review existing rsfMRI developmental studies and discuss how this method has begun to make significant contributions to our understanding of maturing brain organization. In particular, rsfMRI has been used to complement studies in other modalities investigating the emergence of functional segregation and integration across short and long-range connections spanning the entire brain. We show that rsfMRI studies help to clarify and reveal important principles of functional brain development, including a shift from diffuse to focal activation patterns, and simultaneous pruning of local connectivity and strengthening of long-range connectivity with age. The insights gained from these studies also shed light on potentially disrupted functional networks underlying atypical cognitive development associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. We conclude by identifying critical gaps in the current literature, discussing methodological issues, and suggesting avenues for future research.

Keywords: functional connectivity, brain maturation, resting-state fMRI, cognitive development, autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Citation: Uddin LQ, Supekar K and Menon V (2010) Typical and atypical development of functional human brain networks: insights from resting-state fMRI. Front. Syst. Neurosci. 4:21. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2010.00021

Received: 10 February 2010; Paper pending published: 10 March 2010;
Accepted: 16 April 2010; Published online: 21 May 2010

Edited by:

Silvia A. Bunge, University of California Berkeley, USA

Reviewed by:

Damien Fair, Oregon Health and Science University, USA
Moriah E. Thomason, Stanford University, USA

Copyright: © 2010 Uddin, Supekar and Menon. This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Lucina Q. Uddin, Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, 780 Welch Road, Room 201, Stanford, CA 94304, USA.e-mail: lucina@stanford.edu;
Vinod Menon, Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, 780 Welch Road, Room 201, Stanford, CA 94304, USA. e-mail: menon@stanford.edu

Abbreviations: fMRI, functional magnetic resonance imaging; rsfMRI, resting-state fMRI; ICA, independent component analysis; ReHO, regional homogeneity; ADHD, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; ASD, autism spectrum disorder; TS, Tourette syndrome; DMN, default mode network; DTI, diffusion tensor imaging.

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