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Morphological brain network assessed using graph theory and network filtration in deaf adults

Hearing Research
DOI: 10.1016/j.heares.2014.06.007
  • Mathematics


Abstract Prolonged deprivation of auditory input can change brain networks in pre- and postlingual deaf adults by brain-wide reorganization. To investigate morphological changes in these brains voxel-based morphometry, voxel-wise correlation with the primary auditory cortex, and whole brain network analyses using morphological covariance were performed in eight prelingual deaf, eleven postlingual deaf, and eleven hearing adults. Network characteristics based on graph theory and network filtration based on persistent homology were examined. Gray matter density in the primary auditor cortex was preserved in prelingual deafness, while it tended to decrease in postlingual deafness. Unlike postlingual, prelingual deafness showed increased bilateral temporal connectivity of the primary auditory cortex compared to the hearing adults. Of the graph theory-based characteristics, clustering coefficient, betweenness centrality, and nodal efficiency all increased in prelingual deafness, while all the parameters of postlingual deafness were similar to the hearing adults. Patterns of connected components changing during network filtration were different between prelingual deafness and hearing adults according to the barcode, dendrogram, and single linkage matrix representations, while these were the same in postlingual deafness. Nodes in fronto-limbic and left temporal components were closely coupled, and nodes in the temporo-parietal component were loosely coupled, in prelingual deafness. Patterns of connected components changing in postlingual deafness were the same as hearing adults. We propose that the preserved density of auditory cortex associated with increased connectivity in prelingual deafness, and closer coupling between certain brain areas, represent distinctive reorganization of auditory and related cortices compared with hearing or postlingual deaf adults. The differential network reorganization in the prelingual deaf adults could be related to the absence of auditory speech experience.

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