Graph theory analysis of complex brain networks: new concepts in brain mapping applied to neurosurgery.


Neuroanatomy has entered a new era, culminating in the search for the connectome, otherwise known as the brain's wiring diagram. While this approach has led to landmark discoveries in neuroscience, potential neurosurgical applications and collaborations have been lagging. In this article, the authors describe the ideas and concepts behind the connectome and its analysis with graph theory. Following this they then describe how to form a connectome using resting state functional MRI data as an example. Next they highlight selected insights into healthy brain function that have been derived from connectome analysis and illustrate how studies into normal development, cognitive function, and the effects of synthetic lesioning can be relevant to neurosurgery. Finally, they provide a précis of early applications of the connectome and related techniques to traumatic brain injury, functional neurosurgery, and neurooncology.