Dynamic communication and connectivity in frontal networks


How do we maintain a stable percept of the world in the face of the powerful drive of neuroplasticity in both health and disease? This dichotomy forms one of the most fundamental unanswered questions in neuroscience concerning the balance between the dynamic, plastic underpinnings of our neurobiology and the relative stability of our cognition. Th e brain undergoes massive changes in size, morphology, and connectivity during normal development and aging as well as in response to brain injury, yet we can maintain a relatively stable sense of cognition and self during the lifespan. Human brains, each with over 100 billion neurons, develop similarly despite the wide variations in environment and experience. However, within the bounds of this stability there exists a wide range of variability and capacity for change. Here we will discuss the role of neuroplasticity in frontal lobe-dependent cognition by examining the localization of attention and memory functions in the brain and how these seemingly fixed locations may reflect flexible neural networks that change communication properties as required by behavior.