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Microstructural and Functional Connectivity in the Developing Preterm Brain

Authors
Journal
Seminars in Perinatology
0146-0005
Publisher
Elsevier - WB Saunders
Publication Date
Volume
35
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1053/j.semperi.2010.10.006
Keywords
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Functional Connectivity
  • Intrinsic Connectivity
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Premature
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Medicine

Abstract

Prematurely born children are at increased risk for cognitive deficits, but the neurobiological basis of these findings remains poorly understood. Because variations in neural circuitry may influence performance on cognitive tasks, recent investigations have explored the impact of preterm birth on connectivity in the developing brain. Diffusion tensor imaging studies demonstrate widespread alterations in fractional anisotropy, a measure of axonal integrity and microstructural connectivity, throughout the developing preterm brain. Functional connectivity studies report that preterm neonates, children and adolescents exhibit alterations in both resting state and task-based connectivity when compared with term control subjects. Taken together, these data suggest that neurodevelopmental impairment following preterm birth may represent a disease of neural connectivity.

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