Focal brain lesions to critical locations cause widespread disruption of the modular organization of the brain

Caterina Gratton, Emi M. Nomura, Fernando Pérez, Mark D'Esposito*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

173 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although it is generally assumed that brain damage predominantly affects only the function of the damaged region, here we show that focal damage to critical locations causes disruption of network organization throughout the brain. Using resting state fMRI, we assessed whole-brain network structure in patients with focal brain lesions. Only damage to those brain regions important for communication between subnetworks (e.g., "connectors")- but not to those brain regions important for communication within sub-networks (e.g., "hubs")-led to decreases in modularity, a measure of the integrity of network organization. Critically, this network dysfunction extended into the structurally intact hemisphere. Thus, focal brain damage can have a widespread, nonlocal impact on brain network organization when there is damage to regions important for the communication between networks. These findings fundamentally revise our understanding of the remote effects of focal brain damage and may explain numerous puzzling cases of functional deficits that are observed following brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1275-1285
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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