Development of large-scale functional networks from birth to adulthood: A guide to the neuroimaging literature

David S. Grayson, Damien A. Fair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Scopus citations


The development of human cognition results from the emergence of coordinated activity between distant brain areas. Network science, combined with non-invasive functional imaging, has generated unprecedented insights regarding the adult brain's functional organization, and promises to help elucidate the development of functional architectures supporting complex behavior. Here we review what is known about functional network development from birth until adulthood, particularly as understood through the use of resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI). We attempt to synthesize rs-fcMRI findings with other functional imaging techniques, with macro-scale structural connectivity, and with knowledge regarding the development of micro-scale structure. We highlight a number of outstanding conceptual and technical barriers that need to be addressed, as well as previous developmental findings that may need to be revisited. Finally, we discuss key areas ripe for future research in order to (1) better characterize normative developmental trajectories, (2) link these trajectories to biologic mechanistic events, as well as component behaviors and (3) better understand the clinical implications and pathophysiological basis of aberrant network development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-31
Number of pages17
StatePublished - Oct 15 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
DSG was supported by an Autism Speaks Dennis Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship (# 9591 ). This work was supported by the DeStefano Family Foundation , Gates Foundation , MacArthur foundation , and National Institutes of Health ( UG3 OD023349 , R01 MH105538 , R01 MH096773 , R01MH107508 , P60-AA010760 , R01 MH086654 , R00MH091238 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.


  • Brain development
  • Connectomics
  • Functional connectivity
  • Graph theory
  • Resting-state functional MRI


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