Developmental Connectomics from Infancy through Early Childhood

Miao Cao, Hao Huang, Yong He

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


The human brain undergoes rapid growth in both structure and function from infancy through early childhood, and this significantly influences cognitive and behavioral development in later life. A newly emerging research framework, developmental connectomics, provides unprecedented opportunities for exploring the developing brain through non-invasive mapping of structural and functional connectivity patterns. Within this framework, we review recent neuroimaging and neurophysiological studies investigating connectome development from 20 postmenstrual weeks to 5 years of age. Specifically, we highlight five fundamental principles of brain network development during the critical first years of life, emphasizing strengthened segregation/integration balance, a remarkable hierarchical order from primary to higher-order regions, unparalleled structural and functional maturations, substantial individual variability, and high vulnerability to risk factors and developmental disorders. Following the development of advanced neuroimaging techniques and an emerging developmental connectomic framework, the elaborate and complex reorganization of structural and functional connectomes during the early period of life has been recently explored. Network neuroscience demonstrates the value of a global balance between integration and segregation in developmental connectome models during early development. Explorations in pediatric populations at risk of or with developmental disorders reveal disrupted connectomic properties; these have important potential clinical applications in probing and identifying vulnerability during early development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-506
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • connectome
  • developmental disorder
  • functional connectivity
  • graph theory
  • segregation and integration
  • structural connectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Developmental Connectomics from Infancy through Early Childhood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this