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Establishing, versus Maintaining, Brain Function: A Neuro-computational Model of Cortical Reorganization after Injury to the Immature Brain

Lookup NU author(s): Sreedevi Varier, Professor Marcus Kaiser, Dr Rob ForsythORCiD


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The effect of age at injury on outcome after acquired brain injury (ABI) has been the subject of much debate. Many argue that young brains are relatively tolerant of injury. A contrasting viewpoint due to Hebb argues that greater system integrity may be required for the initial establishment of a function than for preservation of an already-established function. A neuro-computational model of cortical map formation was adapted to examine effects of focal and distributed injury at various stages of development. This neural network model requires a period of training during which it self-organizes to establish cortical maps. Injuries were simulated by lesioning the model at various stages of this process and network function was monitored as “development” progressed to completion. Lesion effects are greater for larger, earlier, and distributed (multifocal) lesions. The mature system is relatively robust, particularly to focal injury. Activities in recovering systems injured at an early stage show changes that emerge after an asymptomatic interval. Early injuries cause qualitative changes in system behavior that emerge after a delay during which the effects of the injury are latent. Functions that are incompletely established at the time of injury may be vulnerable particularly to multifocal injury. (JINS, 2011, 17, 1030–1038)

Publication metadata

Author(s): Varier S, Kaiser M, Forsyth R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Year: 2011

Volume: 17

Issue: 6

Pages: 1030-1038

Print publication date: 01/09/2011

ISSN (print): 1355-6177

ISSN (electronic): 1469-7661

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1355617711000993

PubMed id: 21920068


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Funder referenceFunder name
WCU through the National Research Foundation of Korea
RG/2006/R2Royal Society
R32-10142Ministry of Education, Science and Technology