3 years ago

Brain Functional Plasticity Driven by Career Experience: A Resting-State fMRI Study of the Seafarer.

Nizhuan Wang, Yuhu Shi, Hongjie Yan, Weiming Zeng
The functional connectome derived from BOLD resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data represents meaningful functional organizations and a shift between distinct cognitive states. However, the body of knowledge on how the long-term career experience affects the brain's functional plasticity is still very limited. In this study, we used a dynamic functional connectome characterization (DBFCC) model with the automatic target generation process K-Means clustering to explore the functional reorganization property of resting brain states, driven by long-term career experience. Taking sailors as an example, DBFCC generated seventeen reproducibly common atomic connectome patterns (ACP) and one reproducibly distinct ACP, i.e., ACP14. The common ACPs indicating the same functional topology of the resting brain state transitions were shared by two control groups, while the distinct ACP, which mainly represented functional plasticity and only existed in the sailors, showed close relationships with the long-term career experience of sailors. More specifically, the distinct ACP14 of the sailors was made up of four specific sub-networks, such as the auditory network, visual network, executive control network, and vestibular function-related network, which were most likely linked to sailing experience, i.e., continuously suffering auditory noise, maintaining balance, locating one's position in three-dimensional space at sea, obeying orders, etc. Our results demonstrated DBFCC's effectiveness in revealing the specifically functional alterations modulated by sailing experience and particularly provided the evidence that functional plasticity was beneficial in reorganizing brain's functional topology, which could be driven by career experience.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01786

DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01786

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