Typical and atypical brain development: A review of neuroimaging studies

Emily L. Dennis, Paul M. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


In the course of development, the brain undergoes a remarkable process of restructuring as it adapts to the environment and becomes more efficient in processing information. A variety of brain imaging methods can be used to probe how anatomy, connectivity, and function change in the developing brain. Here we review recent discoveries egarding these brain changes in both typically developing individuals and individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. We begin with typical development, summarizing research on changes in regional brain volume and tissue ensity, cortical thickness, white matter integrity, and functional connectivity. Space limits preclude the coverage of all neurodevelopmental disorders; instead, we cover a representative selection of studies examining neural correlates of autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Fragile X, 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, Williams syndrome, own syndrome, and Turner syndrome. Where possible, we focus on studies that identify an age by diagnosis interaction, suggesting an altered developmental trajectory. The studies we review generally cover the developmental period from infancy to early adulthood. Great progress has been made over the last 20 years in mapping how the brain matures with MR technology. With ever-improving technology, we expect this progress to accelerate, offering a deeper understanding of brain development, and more effective interventions for neurodevelopmental disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-384
Number of pages26
JournalDialogues in Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • 22q
  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Brain connectivity
  • Brain structure
  • DTI
  • Development
  • Down syndrome
  • Fragile X
  • MRI
  • Neurodevelopmental disorder
  • Turner syndrome
  • Williams syndrome
  • rsfMRI


Dive into the research topics of 'Typical and atypical brain development: A review of neuroimaging studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this