The brain matures with stronger functional connectivity and decreased randomness of its network

Dirk J A Smit, Maria Boersma, Hugo G Schnack, Sifis Micheloyannis, Dorret I Boomsma, Hilleke E Hulshoff Pol, Cornelis J Stam, Eco J C de Geus

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftArtikelpeer review

100 Citaten (Scopus)


We investigated the development of the brain's functional connectivity throughout the life span (ages 5 through 71 years) by measuring EEG activity in a large population-based sample. Connectivity was established with Synchronization Likelihood. Relative randomness of the connectivity patterns was established with Watts and Strogatz' (1998) graph parameters C (local clustering) and L (global path length) for alpha (~10 Hz), beta (~20 Hz), and theta (~4 Hz) oscillation networks. From childhood to adolescence large increases in connectivity in alpha, theta and beta frequency bands were found that continued at a slower pace into adulthood (peaking at ~50 yrs). Connectivity changes were accompanied by increases in L and C reflecting decreases in network randomness or increased order (peak levels reached at ~18 yrs). Older age (55+) was associated with weakened connectivity. Semi-automatically segmented T1 weighted MRI images of 104 young adults revealed that connectivity was significantly correlated to cerebral white matter volume (alpha oscillations: r = 33, p<01; theta: r = 22, p<05), while path length was related to both white matter (alpha: max. r = 38, p<001) and gray matter (alpha: max. r = 36, p<001; theta: max. r = 36, p<001) volumes. In conclusion, EEG connectivity and graph theoretical network analysis may be used to trace structural and functional development of the brain.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)e36896
TijdschriftPloS one
Nummer van het tijdschrift5
StatusGepubliceerd - 2012


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