Clinical Concepts Emerging from fMRI Functional Connectomics
Word count (summary): 248 Word count (main text): 9971 (71,641 characters) References: 176 Figures: 4 Summary Recent advances in connectomics have led to a synthesis of perspectives regarding the brain's functional organization that reconciles classical concepts of localized specialization with an appreciation for properties that emerge from interactions across distributed functional networks. This provides a more comprehensive framework for understanding neural mechanisms of normal cognition
... d disease. Although fMRI has not become a routine clinical tool, research already has had important influences on clinical concepts guiding diagnosis and patient management. Here we review illustrative examples. Studies demonstrating the network plasticity possible in adults and the global consequences of even focal brain injuries or disease have had substantial impact on modern concepts of disease evolution and expression. Applications of functional connectomics in studies of clinical populations are challenging traditional disease classifications and helping to clarify biological relationships between clinical syndromes (and thus also ways of extending indications for, or "re-purposing", current treatments). Large datasets from prospective, longitudinal studies promise to enable the discovery and validation of functional connectomic biomarkers with the potential to identify people at high risk of disease before clinical onset, at a time when treatments may be most effective. Studies of pain and consciousness have catalyzed reconsiderations of approaches to clinical management, but also have stimulated debate about the clinical meaningfulness of differences in internal perceptual or cognitive states inferred from functional connectomics or other physiological correlates. By way of a closing summary, we offer a personal view of immediate challenges and potential opportunities for clinically relevant applications of fMRI-based functional connectomics.