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      Methods and considerations for longitudinal structural brain imaging analysis across development

      a , b , * , c

      Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

      Elsevier

      Adolescence, Childhood, DTI, Maturation, MRI, Morphometry

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Highlights

          • There have now been several longitudinal studies of structural brain development.

          • We discuss current methods and analysis techniques in longitudinal MRI.

          • We relate MRI measures to possible underlying physiological mechanisms.

          • We encourage more open discussion amongst researchers regarding best practices.

          Abstract

          Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has allowed the unprecedented capability to measure the human brain in vivo. This technique has paved the way for longitudinal studies exploring brain changes across the entire life span. Results from these studies have given us a glimpse into the remarkably extended and multifaceted development of our brain, converging with evidence from anatomical and histological studies. Ever-evolving techniques and analytical methods provide new avenues to explore and questions to consider, requiring researchers to balance excitement with caution. This review addresses what MRI studies of structural brain development in children and adolescents typically measure and how. We focus on measurements of brain morphometry (e.g., volume, cortical thickness, surface area, folding patterns), as well as measurements derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). By integrating finding from multiple longitudinal investigations, we give an update on current knowledge of structural brain development and how it relates to other aspects of biological development and possible underlying physiological mechanisms. Further, we review and discuss current strategies in image processing, analysis techniques and modeling of brain development. We hope this review will aid current and future longitudinal investigations of brain development, as well as evoke a discussion amongst researchers regarding best practices.

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          Most cited references 81

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          Demyelination increases radial diffusivity in corpus callosum of mouse brain.

           Max T Q Le,  Anh Le,  Shu Sun (2005)
          Myelin damage, as seen in multiple sclerosis (MS) and other demyelinating diseases, impairs axonal conduction and can also be associated with axonal degeneration. Accurate assessments of these conditions may be highly beneficial in evaluating and selecting therapeutic strategies for patient management. Recently, an analytical approach examining diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) derived parameters has been proposed to assess the extent of axonal damage, demyelination, or both. The current study uses the well-characterized cuprizone model of experimental demyelination and remyelination of corpus callosum in mouse brain to evaluate the ability of DTI parameters to detect the progression of myelin degeneration and regeneration. Our results demonstrate that the extent of increased radial diffusivity reflects the severity of demyelination in corpus callosum of mouse brain affected by cuprizone treatment. Subsequently, radial diffusivity decreases with the progression of remyelination. Furthermore, radial diffusivity changes were specific to the time course of changes in myelin integrity as distinct from axonal injury, which was detected by betaAPP immunostaining and shown to be most extensive prior to demyelination. Radial diffusivity offers a specific assessment of demyelination and remyelination, as distinct from acute axonal damage.
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            Microstructural maturation of the human brain from childhood to adulthood.

            Brain maturation is a complex process that continues well beyond infancy, and adolescence is thought to be a key period of brain rewiring. To assess structural brain maturation from childhood to adulthood, we charted brain development in subjects aged 5 to 30 years using diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging, a novel brain imaging technique that is sensitive to axonal packing and myelination and is particularly adept at virtually extracting white matter connections. Age-related changes were seen in major white matter tracts, deep gray matter, and subcortical white matter, in our large (n=202), age-distributed sample. These diffusion changes followed an exponential pattern of maturation with considerable regional variation. Differences observed in developmental timing suggest a pattern of maturation in which areas with fronto-temporal connections develop more slowly than other regions. These in vivo results expand upon previous postmortem and imaging studies and provide quantitative measures indicative of the progression and magnitude of regional human brain maturation.
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              Intellectual ability and cortical development in children and adolescents.

              Children who are adept at any one of the three academic 'R's (reading, writing and arithmetic) tend to be good at the others, and grow into adults who are similarly skilled at diverse intellectually demanding activities. Determining the neuroanatomical correlates of this relatively stable individual trait of general intelligence has proved difficult, particularly in the rapidly developing brains of children and adolescents. Here we demonstrate that the trajectory of change in the thickness of the cerebral cortex, rather than cortical thickness itself, is most closely related to level of intelligence. Using a longitudinal design, we find a marked developmental shift from a predominantly negative correlation between intelligence and cortical thickness in early childhood to a positive correlation in late childhood and beyond. Additionally, level of intelligence is associated with the trajectory of cortical development, primarily in frontal regions implicated in the maturation of intelligent activity. More intelligent children demonstrate a particularly plastic cortex, with an initial accelerated and prolonged phase of cortical increase, which yields to equally vigorous cortical thinning by early adolescence. This study indicates that the neuroanatomical expression of intelligence in children is dynamic.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Dev Cogn Neurosci
                Dev Cogn Neurosci
                Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
                Elsevier
                1878-9293
                1878-9307
                02 May 2014
                July 2014
                02 May 2014
                : 9
                : 172-190
                Affiliations
                [a ]Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London, UK
                [b ]Child Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
                [c ]Research Group for Lifespan Changes in Brain and Cognition, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author at: UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK. Tel.: +44 020 7679 1128 kathryn.l.mills@ 123456gmail.com
                Article
                S1878-9293(14)00031-0
                10.1016/j.dcn.2014.04.004
                6989768
                24879112

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-SA license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/).

                Categories
                Review

                Neurosciences

                adolescence, morphometry, mri, maturation, dti, childhood

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