The structural connectome in children: basic concepts, how to build it, and synopsis of challenges for the developing pediatric brain

Avner Meoded, Thierry A.G.M. Huisman, Maria Grazia Sacco Casamassima, George Jallo, Andrea Poretti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Purpose: The structural connectome is a comprehensive structural description of the network of elements and connections forming the brain. In recent years, this framework has progressively been used to investigate the pediatric brain. Methods: We discuss the different steps and emphasize key technical aspects required for the successful reconstruction, analysis, and visualization of the pediatric structural connectome using current state-of-the-art neuroimaging and post-processing techniques. Results: The two key components of structural connectome are a node (a cortical region obtained with high-resolution anatomical imaging) and an edge (structural association between cortical regions, defined with tractography). After delineation of nodes and edges, an association matrix can be generated by compiling all pairwise associations between nodes and applying a threshold to produce a binary adjacency matrix. Several measures can be used to characterize the topological architecture of the brain’s networks. Finally, we provide an overview of various visualization methods of the structural connectome in children. Conclusion: The human connectome is the culmination of more than a century of conceptual and methodological innovation. Biological substrates of brain development such as cortical gyration and myelination challenge the acquisition, reconstruction, and analysis of structural connectome in children and require specific considerations compared to adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-460
Number of pages16
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017



  • Brain
  • Children
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Structural connectome
  • Tractography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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