Paus T. Mapping brain maturation and cognitive development during adolescence. Trends Cogn Sci 9: 60-68

Brain and Body Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences (Impact Factor: 21.97). 03/2005; 9(2):60-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2004.12.008
Source: PubMed


Non-invasive mapping of brain structure and function with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has opened up unprecedented opportunities for studying the neural substrates underlying cognitive development. There is an emerging consensus of a continuous increase throughout adolescence in the volume of white matter, both global and local. There is less agreement on the meaning of asynchronous age-related decreases in the volume of grey matter in different cortical regions; these might equally represent loss ("pruning") or gain (intra-cortical myelination) of tissue. Functional MRI studies have so far focused mostly on executive functions, such as working memory and behavioural inhibition, with very few addressing questions regarding the maturation of social cognition. Future directions for research in this area are discussed in the context of processing biological motion and matching perceptions and actions.

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Available from: Tomas Paus, Aug 18, 2015
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    • "For example, CC is increasing while cortical GM is decreasing and total ventricular volume increasing during typical late neurodevelopment. Brain structure is dynamic throughout this age range, both in terms of gross morphology [Giedd et al., 1999; Paus, 2005; Sowell, Trauner, Gamst, & Jernigan, 2002] and networklevel architecture [Zielinski, Gennatas, Zhou, & Seeley, 2010]. The specific process (or processes) driving these changes remains unknown, but one might speculate that early " pluripotency " of functional brain systems leading to distinct consolidated network organization is one plausible explanation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Since the impairments associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) tend to persist or worsen from childhood into adulthood, it is of critical importance to examine how the brain develops over this growth epoch. We report initial findings on whole and regional longitudinal brain development in 100 male participants with ASD (226 high-quality magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] scans; mean inter-scan interval 2.7 years) compared to 56 typically developing controls (TDCs) (117 high-quality scans; mean inter-scan interval 2.6 years) from childhood into adulthood, for a total of 156 participants scanned over an 8-year period. This initial analysis includes between one and three high-quality scans per participant that have been processed and segmented to date, with 21% having one scan, 27% with two scans, and 52% with three scans in the ASD sample; corresponding percentages for the TDC sample are 30%, 30%, and 40%. The proportion of participants with multiple scans (79% of ASDs and 68% of TDCs) was high in comparison to that of large longitudinal neuroimaging studies of typical development. We provide volumetric growth curves for the entire brain, total gray matter (GM), frontal GM, temporal GM, parietal GM, occipital GM, total cortical white matter (WM), corpus callosum, caudate, thalamus, total cerebellum, and total ventricles. Mean volume of cortical WM was reduced significantly. Mean ventricular volume was increased in the ASD sample relative to the TDCs across the broad age range studied. Decreases in regional mean volumes in the ASD sample most often were due to decreases during late adolescence and adulthood. The growth curve of whole brain volume over time showed increased volumes in young children with autism, and subsequently decreased during adolescence to meet the TDC curve between 10 and 15 years of age. The volume of many structures continued to decline atypically into adulthood in the ASD sample. The data suggest that ASD is a dynamic disorder with complex changes in whole and regional brain volumes that change over time from childhood into adulthood. Autism Res 2014, ●●: ●●–●●. © 2014 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Autism Research
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    • "Structural brain changes likely reflect interplay among changes in cell proliferation and apoptosis, dendritic branching and pruning, and synaptic formation and elimination, in accord with the strengthening of relevant neural connections and the pruning of inefficient pathways (Andersen, 2003). Some investigators hypothesize that intra-cortical myelination might also play a role in gray matter reductions across development (Paus, 2005). White matter, composed of myelinated axons, has been found to increase roughly linearly throughout childhood (Schmithorst & Yuan, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: In this chapter, we review literature that examines the association among physical activity, aerobic fitness, cognition, and the brain in elementary school children (ages 7-10 years). Specifically, physical activity and higher levels of aerobic fitness in children have been found to benefit brain structure, brain function, cognition, and school achievement. For example, higher fit children have larger brain volumes in the basal ganglia and hippocampus, which relate to superior performance on tasks of cognitive control and memory, respectively, when compared to their lower fit peers. Higher fit children also show superior brain function during tasks of cognitive control, better scores on tests of academic achievement, and higher performance on a real-world street crossing task, compared to lower fit and less active children. The cross-sectional findings are strengthened by a few randomized, controlled trials, which demonstrate that children randomly assigned to a physical activity intervention group show greater brain and cognitive benefits compared to a control group. Because these findings suggest that the developing brain is plastic and sensitive to lifestyle factors, we also discuss typical structural and functional brain maturation in children to provide context in which to interpret the effects of physical activity and aerobic fitness on the developing brain. This research is important because children are becoming increasingly sedentary, physically inactive, and unfit. An important goal of this review is to emphasize the importance of physical activity and aerobic fitness for the cognitive and brain health of today's youth.
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    • "In general, the ability to process spatial and contextual information appears to mature around age eight on a variety of large-environment spatial tasks (Overman et al., 1996) and around age 9 on a computerized spatial navigation task (Laurance et al., 2003). Not surprisingly, dynamic and rapid structural and functional brain changes beyond childhood and into adolescence (Blakemore, 2012; Paus, 2005; Spear, 2000) underlie significant improvements across a variety of cognitive domains (Casey et al., 2005; Paus, 2005), including spatial ability (Klingberg, 2006; Piper et al., 2011; Sowell et al., 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Males typically outperform females on spatial tasks, beginning early in life and continuing into adulthood. This study aimed to characterize age and sex differences in human spatial ability using a virtual Water Maze Task (vWMT), which is based on the classic Morris water maze spatial navigation task used in rodents. Performance on the vWMT and on a task assessing visuospatial perception, Mental Rotations Test (MRT), was examined in 33 adolescents and 39 emerging adults. For the vWMT, significant effects of age and sex were observed for path length in the target region (narrower spatial sampling), and heading error, with emerging adults performing better than adolescents, and an overall male advantage. For the MRT, males scored higher than females, but only in emerging adulthood. Overall, sex differences in visuospatial perception (MRT) emerge differently from those observed on a classic navigation task, with age and sex-specific superior vWMT performance likely related to the use of more efficient strategies. Importantly, these results extend the developmental timeline of spatial ability characterization to include adolescent males and females performing a virtual version of the classic vWMT.
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