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Reduced ventral attention network connectivity is linked to the accelerated maturation of adult-like cortical organization in childhood

By HaoMing Dong, Avram Holmes, Xi-Nian Zuo

Posted 13 Apr 2022
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2022.04.12.488101

Across the transition from childhood to adolescence the human brain experiences profound functional changes, shifting from an organizational framework anchored within somatosensory/motor and visual regions into one that is balanced through interactions with later-maturing aspects of association cortex. Here, we provide evidence linking this profile of large-scale functional reorganization to developmental shifts in attention network connectivity. We demonstrate that changes in functional connectivity between childhood and adolescence are preferential to the salience/ventral attention network. Excluding these network-linked vertices from analysis effectively removes developmental changes in cortical organization, while connectivity within the ventral attention network predicts intellectual ability. Children with low ventral attention network connectivity exhibit adolescent-like topographical profiles, suggesting attentional systems may be critically important for understanding how brain functions are refined across development. These data highlight a core role for the ventral attention network in supporting age-dependent shifts in the macroscale organization of cortex across development.

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