Human brain networks developing in adolescence related to evolutionary expansion

March 17, 2017, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Adolescence marks not only the period of physical maturation bridging childhood and adulthood, but also a crucial period for remodeling of the human brain. A Penn study reveals new patterns of coordinated development in the outer layer of the cerebrum of the human brain and describes how these structural patterns relate to functional networks.

The team found the convergence between structural and functional networks was inversely related to functional complexity. Motor, sensory, visual and functional networks aligned to distinct structural networks. This unique representation of maturation may open new opportunities for future studies into many psychiatric disorders that might begin during this age. A team from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania publishes the findings this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Brain remodeling during adolescence supports the tuning of behavior and cognitive abilities, including reasoning, coordination, decision making, motivation, and regulation of emotions. Measuring these brain parameters during development is valuable for understanding both normal brain maturation and abnormalities associated with behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. In contrast to the small sample sizes in this subject area's previous research, this cohort of 934 youths ages 8-22 from the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, a collaboration between Penn Medicine and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (led by Raquel E. Gur, MD, PhD, a professor of Psychiatry) offers the opportunity to evaluate these complex of brain development.

Many previous studies have examined the structure and function of the brain, but there has been a gap between brain imaging studies and the biological processes that drive the development of brain networks. This team took high-dimensional, complex data that would otherwise be tough to understand - and boiled it down to a limited number of developing structural brain networks (18 in total).

"In an era of big, complex data, it's sometimes difficult to see what's going on," said Christos Davatzikos, PhD, professor of Radiology, and senior author on the paper. "So you look at this data and think there may be some relationships, but our brain and visual interpretation can only go so far. Now we have powerful multivariate methods that can put all the data together and see deeper what's behind it, and find patterns never seen before."

To look deeper into these patterns of , the team used a sophisticated technique called non-negative matrix factorization, to simultaneously analyze of brain structure and identify patterns of development in adolescence. Unlike previous brain representations that relied on patterns of ridges and folds on the surface of the brain, called gyri and sulci, the team looked at how elements change together in a coordinated fashion.

This approach revealed a set of structural brain networks that have clear functional and evolutionary significance. Indeed, the degree to which these structural networks change in adolescence is related to the rate of evolution, as measured by the expansion of the cortical areas, from the brain of a monkey.

"The most plastic parts of the brain that change during adolescence are also those that make us most human," said Theodore D. Satterthwaite, MD, assistant professor of Psychiatry and equally contributing senior author on the paper. "Without this method, we couldn't see these coordinated patterns of change."

"Looking at the brain in a data-driven way, we see systematic relationships between certain regions," said Aristeidis Sotiras, PhD, a research associate and first author on the paper. "This allows us to identify the moving parts of the brain, which opens new avenues for research into an individual's risk for developing specific diseases based on understanding how these parts get broken during adolescence."

Similar to the use of height and weight growth charts in pediatrics, looking at which brain regions change significantly compared to a normal development baseline, could show how vulnerable someone is to a specific disorder. Deviations of processes that drive development and affect structural networks could lead to . Next, the team hopes to study the association between clinical symptoms and specific brain patterns.

Explore further: How does brain functional connectivity change from the awake to unconscious state?

More information: Aristeidis Sotiras et al, Patterns of coordinated cortical remodeling during adolescence and their associations with functional specialization and evolutionary expansion, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1620928114

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1 / 5 (4) Mar 18, 2017
This approach revealed a set of structural brain networks that have clear functional and evolutionary significance. Indeed, the degree to which these structural networks change in adolescence is related to the rate of evolution, as measured by the expansion of the cortical areas, from the brain of a monkey.

This particular paragraph is the most nonsensical drivel contained in this article.

The rest of the article describes a beautifully coordinated research methodology with outstanding results.

Then this bit of non-science gets thrown in just to satisfy the requirements for obeisance to a pagan religion, worship of the god of evolution.

5 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2017
Again, fred, you assume that we were created from dust or mud or a blood clot and then you reject the science that does not support this. Which is to say, most all of it.

This is non-science.

And this picking and choosing depends solely on personal tastes, on what theories you are willing to compromise on, such as the age of the universe or the origin of disease.

So among religionists there exist a wide range of theories which are all irrational and irreconcilable because they are based on feeling and not reason.

'Well i can see the universe being a few billion years old but - decended from monkeys?? Have you been to the zoo lately?? No way and that's that.'
5 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2017
Evolution is a very rational scheme. The creationist alternative is founded on a myth. And then adherents of the myth put themselves through ridiculous contortions to preserve the myth in the face of overwhelming evidence that the myth is not something that can be taken literally. For my part, I think their myth is pure crap-- cult madness. But believers could save themselves a lot of trouble and look a bit less stupid, if they would give a little ground and accept parts of their mythology as symbolic and/or allegorical. I don't understand why some of them can't make a rational concession to reality.
5 / 5 (4) Mar 18, 2017
I don't understand why some of them can't make a rational concession to reality
Because their immortal souls are at stake. That and being able to get whatever you want just by wishing for it.

This is the difference between the pope and walt disney.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2017
I don't understand why some of them can't make a rational concession to reality.
because the source of their myth stated their deity is infallible and doesn't make mistakes...
therefore they extrapolate that, when they make contortions to validate their belief, then it's due to the infallible nature of their deity

so since someone had the balls to write, in the holy tome, that the word in the tome is infallible regardless of the glaring mistakes spelled out in the tome or the fact that it's proven false by fact, then it can't be wrong because the tome specifically states it is the infallible word of the deity

no sh*t!
Psalms 12:6
Proverbs 30:5-6

they actually believe this too
5 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2017
I think his God is a bird.

"I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." Psalms 91:2-4
5 / 5 (5) Mar 20, 2017
worship of the god of evolution.

Sweet didn't even understand that they aren't talking about the theory of Darwinian evolution at all in the article. How dumb do you have to be to not get that?

They are using the word evolution here in the dictionary sense (change over time during brain growth).

But if you want to go on about Darwinian evolution: That is settled science. You griping about it on some comment sections on some website about PR articles about scientific papers isn't going to change that one bit. Learn to live in the real world or go back to some cave.
5 / 5 (3) Mar 20, 2017
I think his god is a bird
Well of course youre right. Heres a photo.

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