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Structural and functional brain parameters related to cognitive performance across development: Replication and extension of the parieto-frontal integration theory in a single sample

By Ruben C Gur, Ellyn R. Butler, Tyler M Moore, Adon F.G. Rosen, Kosha Ruparel, Theodore D Satterthwaite, David R Roalf, Efstathios D. Gennatas, Warren B. Bilker, Russell T Shinohara, Allison Port, Mark A Elliott, Ragini Verma, Christos Davatzikos, Daniel H Wolf, John A Detre, Raquel E Gur

Posted 04 Jun 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/659193

The Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory (PFIT) identified a fronto-parietal network of regions where individual differences in brain parameters most strongly relate to cognitive performance. PFIT was supported and extended in adult samples, but not in youths or within single-scanner well-powered multimodal studies. We performed multimodal neuroimaging in 1601 youths age 8-22 on the same 3-Tesla scanner with contemporaneous neurocognitive assessment, measuring volume, gray matter density (GMD), mean diffusivity (MD), cerebral blood flow (CBF), resting-state functional MRI measures of amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (ALFF) and regional homogeneity (ReHo), and activation to a working memory and a social cognition task. Across age and sex groups, better performance was associated with higher volumes, greater GMD, lower MD, lower CBF, higher ALFF and ReHo and greater activation for the working memory task in PFIT regions. However, additional cortical, striatal, limbic and cerebellar regions showed comparable effects, hence PFIT needs expansion into an Extended PFIT (ExtPFIT) network incorporating nodes that support motivation and affect. Associations of brain parameters became stronger with advancing age group from childhood to adolescence to young adulthood, effects occurring earlier in females. This ExtPFIT network is developmentally fine-tuned, optimizing abundance and integrity of neural tissue while maintaining low resting energy state. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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