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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016, Article ID 9849087, 10 pages
Research Article

Functional Reorganizations of Brain Network in Prelingually Deaf Adolescents

1College of Electronic Information and Control Engineering, Beijing University of Technology, Beijing 100124, China
2State Key Laboratory of Management and Control for Complex Systems, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China
3Beijing Key Laboratory of Computational Intelligence and Intelligent System, Beijing 100124, China
4Department of Radiology, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100730, China
5Department of Radiology, Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100050, China

Received 5 June 2015; Accepted 22 July 2015

Academic Editor: Feng Shi

Copyright © 2016 Wenjing Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Previous neuroimaging studies suggested structural or functional brain reorganizations occurred in prelingually deaf subjects. However, little is known about the reorganizations of brain network architectures in prelingually deaf adolescents. The present study aims to investigate alterations of whole-brain functional network using resting-state fMRI and graph theory analysis. We recruited 16 prelingually deaf adolescents (10~18 years) and 16 normal controls matched in age and gender. Brain networks were constructed from mean time courses of 90 regions. Widely distributed network was observed in deaf subjects, with increased connectivity between the limbic system and regions involved in visual and language processing, suggesting reinforcement of the processing for the visual and verbal information in deaf adolescents. Decreased connectivity was detected between the visual regions and language regions possibly due to inferior reading or speaking skills in deaf subjects. Using graph theory analysis, we demonstrated small-worldness property did not change in prelingually deaf adolescents relative to normal controls. However, compared with healthy adolescents, eight regions involved in visual, language, and auditory processing were identified as hubs only present in prelingually deaf adolescents. These findings revealed reorganization of brain functional networks occurred in prelingually deaf adolescents to adapt to deficient auditory input.