Virtually all domains of cognitive function require the integration of distributed neural activity. Network analysis of human brain connectivity has consistently identified sets of regions that are critically important for enabling efficient neuronal signaling and communication. The central embedding of these candidate ‘brain hubs’ in anatomical networks supports their diverse functional roles across a broad range of cognitive tasks and widespread dynamic coupling within and across functional networks. The high level of centrality of brain hubs also renders them points of vulnerability that are susceptible to disconnection and dysfunction in brain disorders. Combining data from numerous empirical and computational studies, network approaches strongly suggest that brain hubs play important roles in information integration underpinning numerous aspects of complex cognitive function.
Network approaches to neuroscience are currently accelerating at a rapid pace, propelled by the availability of ‘big data’, an expanding computational infrastructure, and the formation of large-scale research consortia and initiatives focused on mapping brain connectivity. As these developments unfold, it seems certain that the study of brain network hubs will remain an enduring theme in the quest to better understand the complex function of the human brain.