The development of the Default Network: An overview from childhood to old age
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The Default Mode Network (DMN) is a network of brain areas that is engaged when people are at rest. The medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex and the inferior parietal lobe are thought to be the core of the DMN. Different functional processes have been linked to the DMN. However it remains difficult to define the cognitions that are at work when one is at rest. Recently more studies have focussed on the changes of the DMN in childhood and old age. To understand the development of the DMN will expand our understanding of its function. In this review an overview will be given from the literature about the development of the DMN from infancy to old age and about the DMN in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The findings of the development of the DMN are supported by results from other areas of research such as underlying brain anatomy. Finally, implications of the development of the DMN on the functionality will be discussed, along with the criticism directed at the concept of a default mode of brain function.