Examining Resting-state Functional and Structural Connectivity of the Attention Networks after Early Brain Insults


Brain insults that occur early in life often lead to cognitive impairments, and sustained attention is highly vulnerable to the initial event as well as to the altered structural and functional brain development that follows. Sustained attention impairments are associated with neural changes in specific brain networks – default mode network (DMN) and central executive network (CEN) – that are crucial for proper attention functioning in healthy populations. Prior studies have, however, typically focused on adult cohorts, which is not applicable to understanding structural and functional changes in the developing brain. There are relatively few studies that have examined these networks in children with an early life injury with advanced quantitative neuroimaging techniques (structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and functional MRI). Thus, the current thesis used these methods to investigate DMN and CEN changes following an early life brain insult in children with traumatic brain injury (TBI), epilepsy, or heterogeneous brain insults with the aim to identify shared neural changes in heterogeneous patient cohorts that underpin common attention impairments. The current thesis has reported reduced functional connectivity in the DMN regions (posterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex) in children with TBI, and in the left parietal lobe in children with focal epilepsy as compared to controls at 2-years post-injury. Children with epilepsy however showed no differences in the structural covariance network when compared to controls. Children with heterogeneous brain insults also showed no significant functional and structural connectivity changes when imaging data were acquired in the acute post-insult period. This thesis is however limited by the lack of behavioural measures, and future studies should integrate neuropsychology and neuroimaging to better understand the relationships between the brain connectivity changes and attention deficits, therefore allowing the identification of children who would benefit most from early interventions that could improve their long-term neurocognitive outcomes.

Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
Additional Information: Copyright © Ling Lynette Looi, 2022. Ling Lynette Looi asserts their moral right to be identified as the author of this thesis. This copy of the thesis has been supplied on condition that anyone who consults it is understood to recognise that its copyright rests with its author and that no quotation from the thesis and no information derived from it may be published without appropriate permission or acknowledgement. If you have discovered material in Aston Publications Explorer which is unlawful e.g. breaches copyright, (either yours or that of a third party) or any other law, including but not limited to those relating to patent, trademark, confidentiality, data protection, obscenity, defamation, libel, then please read our Takedown Policy and contact the service immediately.
Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: Early Brain Injury,Epilepsy,Traumatic Brain Injury,Resting-state Functional Connectivity,Sustained Attention,Structural Covariance Network,MRI
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2024 08:21
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2023 16:13
Completed Date: 2022-03
Authors: Looi, Ling Lynette

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