September 2019
Volume 19, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2019
How mature are connectivity patterns in the neonate brain?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jin Li
    Department of Psychology & Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, The Ohio State University
  • Athena L. Howell
    Department of Psychology & Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, The Ohio State University
  • Micah R. Rhodes
    Department of Psychology & Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, The Ohio State University
  • Zeynep M. Saygin
    Department of Psychology & Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, The Ohio State University
Journal of Vision September 2019, Vol.19, 119d. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.119d
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      Jin Li, Athena L. Howell, Micah R. Rhodes, Zeynep M. Saygin; How mature are connectivity patterns in the neonate brain?. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):119d. https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.119d.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Is the wiring pattern of high-level visual cortex innate, and if not, how does it develop with age? Previous research showed evidence for category selective responses in visual regions for 4 - 6-month-old infants (Deen et al., 2017). Moreover, the connectivity pattern of the VWFA exists even before a child learns to read, suggesting that wiring patterns may drive the development of specialized regions of cortex (Saygin et al., 2017). Here, we examined the connectivity patterns of putative high-level visual regions (i.e., faces, objects, scenes, visual word form areas (VWFA)), language, and speech regions in adults and in neonates. We analyzed data from the Human Connectome Project and developmental Human Connectome Project. We used functional parcels as defined in independent datasets of high-level visual regions, and other regions across the brain (including language, speech, and multiple-demand areas) and registered these parcels into each individual’s brain, and calculated the resting-state functional connectivity between these areas in both adults and neonates. Although neonate connectivity was lower than adults overall, there were similar patterns of connectivity between high-level visual regions in neonates and adults. Neonates had stronger within network connectivity for high-level visual areas, just like adults. Further, we found that the VWFA was more connected with language areas than other regions, including nearby visual areas, in both neonates and adults. We also discuss similarities and differences between resting-state and diffusion-weighted imaging connectivity of these regions in neonates vs. adults. These results support the claim that many aspects of connectivity are innate and that the visual system, including regions that only become selective with experience (e.g. VWFA) is already set up for function, even before the relevant behavior exists (e.g. reading). Our study also provides neural evidence for how connectivity with language regions may facilitate high-level vision and vice-versa.

Acknowledgement: Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience (2018) 
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