Injured Brains and Adaptive Networks: The Benefits and Costs of Hyperconnectivity

Frank G. Hillary, Jordan H. Grafman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


A common finding in human functional brain-imaging studies is that damage to neural systems paradoxically results in enhanced functional connectivity between network regions, a phenomenon commonly referred to as ‘hyperconnectivity’. Here, we describe the various ways that hyperconnectivity operates to benefit a neural network following injury while simultaneously negotiating the trade-off between metabolic cost and communication efficiency. Hyperconnectivity may be optimally expressed by increasing connections through the most central and metabolically efficient regions (i.e., hubs). While adaptive in the short term, we propose that chronic hyperconnectivity may leave network hubs vulnerable to secondary pathological processes over the life span due to chronically elevated metabolic stress. We conclude by offering novel, testable hypotheses for advancing our understanding of the role of hyperconnectivity in systems-level brain plasticity in neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-401
Number of pages17
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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