We present a brain development index (BDI) that concisely summarizes complex imaging patterns of structural brain maturation along a single dimension using a machine learning methodology. The brain was found to follow a remarkably consistent developmental trajectory in a sample of 621 subjects of ages 8-22 participating in the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, reflected by a cross-validated correlation coefficient between chronologic age and the BDI of r = 0.89. Critically, deviations from this trajectory related to cognitive performance. Specifically, subjects whose BDI was higher than their chronological age displayed significantly superior cognitive processing speed compared with subjects whose BDI was lower than their actual age. These results indicate that the multiparametric imaging patterns summarized by the BDI can accurately delineate trajectories of brain development and identify individuals with cognitive precocity or delay.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience