Neurodevelopmental trajectories of the human cerebral cortex
ABSTRACT Understanding the organization of the cerebral cortex remains a central focus of neuroscience. Cortical maps have relied almost exclusively on the examination of postmortem tissue to construct structural, architectonic maps. These maps have invariably distinguished between areas with fewer discernable layers, which have a less complex overall pattern of lamination and lack an internal granular layer, and those with more complex laminar architecture. The former includes several agranular limbic areas, and the latter includes the homotypical and granular areas of association and sensory cortex. Here, we relate these traditional maps to developmental data from noninvasive neuroimaging. Changes in cortical thickness were determined in vivo from 764 neuroanatomic magnetic resonance images acquired longitudinally from 375 typically developing children and young adults. We find differing levels of complexity of cortical growth across the cerebrum, which align closely with established architectonic maps. Cortical regions with simple laminar architecture, including most limbic areas, predominantly show simpler growth trajectories. These areas have clearly identified homologues in all mammalian brains and thus likely evolved in early mammals. In contrast, polysensory and high-order association areas of cortex, the most complex areas in terms of their laminar architecture, also have the most complex developmental trajectories. Some of these areas are unique to, or dramatically expanded in primates, lending an evolutionary significance to the findings. Furthermore, by mapping a key characteristic of these development trajectories (the age of attaining peak cortical thickness) we document the dynamic, heterochronous maturation of the cerebral cortex through time lapse sequences ("movies").
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ABSTRACT: Adolescence is characterized by the emergence of advanced forms of social perspective taking and significant changes in social behavior. Yet little is known about how changes in social cognition are related to changes in brain function during adolescence. In this study, we investigated the neural correlates of social behavior during three phases of adolescence, carrying out functional magnetic resonance imaging of participants' brains while they were Player 2 in the Trust Game. We found that with age, adolescents were increasingly sensitive to the perspective of the other player, as indicated by their reciprocal behavior. These advanced forms of social perspective-taking behavior were associated with increased involvement of the left temporo-parietal junction and the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In contrast, young adolescents showed more activity in the anterior medial prefrontal cortex, a region previously associated with self-oriented processing and mentalizing. These findings suggest that the asynchronous development of these neural systems may underlie the shift from thinking about self to thinking about the other.Psychological Science 01/2011; 22(1):60-70. DOI:10.1177/0956797610391102 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although both emotion and response inhibition are thought to be important in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), little is known about the neural mechanisms that underlie the interaction between these two processes in patients with this disorder. This study aimed at examining how emotional contexts affect inhibitory control in children with ADHD. A total of 24 ADHD children and 24 healthy comparison subjects performed a modified go/no-go task during three different emotionally laden contexts: negative, neutral and positive. To explore the timing and the underlying neural substrates of emotion-modulated response inhibition, event-related potentials were measured and further analysed both at the scalp and at the voxel level. Patients with ADHD showed greater activation of inhibition-related neural mechanisms (i.e. no-go P3 amplitudes and orbitofrontal cortex activity) to maintain a similar level of performance as healthy comparison subjects, especially during the emotionally arousing contexts (negative and positive). This study provides plausible neural mechanisms for the difficulty that ADHD children have in controlling their behaviour in highly emotional situations. Such emotional contexts might increase the need for top-down inhibitory control and put ADHD children at greater risk for impulsive behaviours and emotional dysregulation.Psychological Medicine 02/2015; DOI:10.1017/S0033291714003195 · 5.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Several common developmental disorders emerge during early to middle childhood (e.g. autism, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder) and are associated with impairments in executive function (EF). Contrary to the prevailing view, I suggest that, within populations at-risk, the association with EF is found because individuals with strong EF skills are better able to compensate for atypicalities in other brain systems early in life, and are therefore less likely to receive a diagnosis later in life. I discuss evidence consistent with this view from considerations of individual variability, neuroimaging, and genetics. To the extent that this view is correct, it offers hope for remediation of some later emerging symptoms, as evidence from typical groups indicates that training programs for EF in preschoolers may be effective in improving skills.Trends in Cognitive Sciences 07/2012; 16(9):454-7. DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2012.07.001 · 21.15 Impact Factor