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Plasticity in gray and white: neuroimaging changes in brain structure during learning

Nature Neuroscience volume 15, pages 528536 (2012) | Download Citation

Abstract

Human brain imaging has identified structural changes in gray and white matter that occur with learning. However, ascribing imaging measures to underlying cellular and molecular events is challenging. Here we review human neuroimaging findings of structural plasticity and then discuss cellular and molecular level changes that could underlie observed imaging effects. Greater dialog between researchers in these different fields would help to facilitate cross-talk between cellular and systems level explanations of how learning sculpts brain structure.

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Acknowledgements

R.J.Z. is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; R.D.F. is supported by funds for intramural research at the US National Institutes of Health; H.J.-B. is supported by the Wellcome Trust.

Author information

Author notes

    • Robert J Zatorre
    • , R Douglas Fields
    •  & Heidi Johansen-Berg

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

    • Robert J Zatorre
  2. Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section, US National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

    • R Douglas Fields
  3. Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB), Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.

    • Heidi Johansen-Berg

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Heidi Johansen-Berg.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.3045

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