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Functional connectivity directionality between large-scale resting-state networks in children and adolescence from the Healthy Brain Network sample

By Martina J Lund, Dag Alnaes, Jaroslav Rokicki, Simon Schwab, Ole A. Andreassen, Lars T. Westlye, Tobias Kaufmann

Posted 13 Oct 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.09.20207936

ObjectiveMental disorders often emerge during adolescence and have been associated with age-related differences in connection strengths of brain networks (static connectivity), manifesting in non-typical developmental trajectories of brain maturation. However, little is known about the directionality of information flow (directed connectivity) in this period of brain development. MethodsWe employed dynamic graphical models (DGM) to estimate directed functional connectivity from resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging data on 1143 participants, aged 6 to 17 years from the healthy brain network (HBN) sample. We tested for effects of age, sex, cognitive abilities and psychopathology on directionality. ResultsWe show robust bi-directionality in information flow between visual-medial and visual-lateral networks, in line with prior studies investigating this in adults. Furthermore, we found that age in this developmental sample was associated with directionality of information flow for sensorimotor, auditory, and control networks, and that cognition was linked to directionality between the visual occipital and the default mode network. However, we did not find associations with psychopathology. DiscussionOur results revealed that directionality in information flow of large-scale brain networks is sensitive to age and cognition during adolescence, warranting further studies that may explore trajectories of development in more fine-grained network parcellations and in different populations.

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