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Brain disconnections link structural connectivity with function and behaviour

By Michel Thiebaut de Schotten, Chris J Foulon, Parashkev Nachev

Posted 28 Feb 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.27.967570 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18920-9)

Brain lesions do not just disable but also disconnect brain areas, which once deprived of their input or output, can no longer subserve behaviour and cognition. The role of white matter connections has remained an open question for the past 250 years. Based on 1333 stroke lesions we reveal the human Disconnectome and demonstrate its relationship to the functional segregation of the human brain. Results indicate that functional territories are not only defined by white matter connections, but also by the highly stereotyped spatial distribution of brain disconnections. While the former has granted us the possibility to map 590 functions on the white matter of the whole brain, the latter compels a revision of the taxonomy of brain functions. Overall, our freely available Functional Atlas of the White Matter will enable improved clinical-neuroanatomical predictions for brain lesion studies and provide a platform for novel explorations in the domain of cognition.

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