Brain anatomical networks in early human brain development

Yong Fan, Feng Shi, Jeffrey Keith Smith, Weili Lin, John H. Gilmore, Dinggang Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Citations (Scopus)


Recent neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that human brain networks have economic small-world topology and modular organization, enabling efficient information transfer among brain regions. However, it remains largely unknown how the small-world topology and modular organization of human brain networks emerge and develop. Using longitudinal MRI data of 28 healthy pediatric subjects, collected at their ages of 1. month, 1. year, and 2. years, we analyzed development patterns of brain anatomical networks derived from morphological correlations of brain regional volumes. The results show that the brain network of 1-month-olds has the characteristically economic small-world topology and nonrandom modular organization. The network's cost efficiency increases with the brain development to 1. year and 2. years, so does the modularity, providing supportive evidence for the hypothesis that the small-world topology and the modular organization of brain networks are established during early brain development to support rapid synchronization and information transfer with minimal rewiring cost, as well as to balance between local processing and global integration of information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1862-1871
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Feb 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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