Age effects on the default mode and control networks in typically developing children.J Psychiatr Res 2014; 58:89-95JP
The investigation of neurodevelopment during late childhood and pre-adolescence has recently attracted a great deal of interest in the field of neuroimaging. One promising topic in this field is the formation of brain networks in healthy subjects. The integration between neural modules characterizes the ability of the network to process information globally. Although many fMRI-based neurodevelopment studies can be found in the literature, the analyses of very large samples (on the order of hundreds of subjects) that focus on the late childhood/pre-adolescence period and resting state fMRI are scarce, and most studies have focused solely on North American and European populations.
In this study, we present a descriptive investigation of the developmental formation of the Default Mode Network and the Control Network based on a Brazilian, cross-sectional community sample of 447 typically developing subjects aged 7-15 years old.
Resting state fMRI data were acquired using two MRI systems from the same manufacturer using the same acquisition parameters. We estimated the age effects on the strength of the links (between brain regions) and the network features (graph descriptors: degree and eigenvector centrality).
Our findings showed an increase in the antero-posterior connectivity in both studied networks during brain development. The graph analyses showed an increase in centrality with age for most regions in the Default Mode Network and the dorsal anterior and posterior cingulate, the right anterior insula and the left posterior temporal cortex in the Control Network.
We conclude that the period of 7-15 years of age is crucial for the development of both the Default Mode and Control networks, with integration between the posterior and anterior neuronal modules and an increase in the centrality measures of the hub regions.