Functional reorganizations of brain network in prelingually deaf adolescents

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Previous neuroimaging studies suggested structural or functional brain reorganizations occurred in prelingually deaf subjects. However, little is known about the reorganizations of brain network architectures in prelingually deaf adolescents. The present study aims to investigate alterations of whole-brain functional network using resting-state fMRI and graph theory analysis. We recruited 16 prelingually deaf adolescents (1018 years) and 16 normal controls matched in age and gender. Brain networks were constructed from mean time courses of 90 regions. Widely distributed network was observed in deaf subjects, with increased connectivity between the limbic system and regions involved in visual and language processing, suggesting reinforcement of the processing for the visual and verbal information in deaf adolescents. Decreased connectivity was detected between the visual regions and language regions possibly due to inferior reading or speaking skills in deaf subjects. Using graph theory analysis, we demonstrated small-worldness property did not change in prelingually deaf adolescents relative to normal controls. However, compared with healthy adolescents, eight regions involved in visual, language, and auditory processing were identified as hubs only present in prelingually deaf adolescents. These findings revealed reorganization of brain functional networks occurred in prelingually deaf adolescents to adapt to deficient auditory input.




Li, W., Li, J., Wang, J., Zhou, P., Wang, Z., Xian, J., & He, H. (2016). Functional reorganizations of brain network in prelingually deaf adolescents. Neural Plasticity, 2016.

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