Unique brain areas associated with abstinence control are damaged in multiply detoxified alcoholics

Duka, Theodora, Trick, Leanne, Nikolaou, Kyriaki, Gray, Marcus A., Kempton, Matthew J., Williams, Hugh, Williams, Steven C. R., Critchley, Hugo D. and Stephens, David N. (2011) Unique brain areas associated with abstinence control are damaged in multiply detoxified alcoholics. Biological Psychiatry, 70 6: 545-552. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.04.006

Author Duka, Theodora
Trick, Leanne
Nikolaou, Kyriaki
Gray, Marcus A.
Kempton, Matthew J.
Williams, Hugh
Williams, Steven C. R.
Critchley, Hugo D.
Stephens, David N.
Title Unique brain areas associated with abstinence control are damaged in multiply detoxified alcoholics
Journal name Biological Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3223
Publication date 2011-09-15
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.04.006
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 70
Issue 6
Start page 545
End page 552
Total pages 8
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: The ability to abstain from drinking, despite incentives to imbibe, is essential to recovery from alcoholism.
Methods: We used an incentive conflict task to investigate ability to abstain from responding during presentations of incentive cues. Both alcoholic (n = 23) and healthy subjects (n = 22) were required to withhold responding during the simultaneous presentation of two visual stimuli in which the individual presentation allowed responding for monetary reward. Brain structures activated during performance of the task were studied using functional magnetic resonance imaging in healthy volunteers (n = 8), and changes in gray matter volume were studied in a separate group of patients (n = 29) compared with control subjects (n = 31) in regions of interest identified on functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Results: Abstinent alcoholic patients were severely impaired on the incentive conflict task. The impairment was greater in patients with experience of several versus a single detoxification. Healthy volunteers, during the same incentive conflict task, showed distinct patterns of brain activation (including gyrus rectus, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and superior frontal gyrus). Reduction of gray matter volume in ventromedial prefrontal cortex and superior frontal gyrus of patients was more extensive in those with multiple detoxifications.
Conclusions: Performance deficits in alcoholics are associated with withdrawal-induced impairments in prefrontal subfields, which are exacerbated following repeated episodes of detoxification. Detoxification thus compromises functional and structural integrity of prefrontal cortex and may thus impair the ability to control future drinking. Performance in the incentive conflict task is a sensitive biomarker for such deficits.
Keyword Compulsivity
Negative patterning
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID G0400568
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Centre for Advanced Imaging Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 34 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 24 Oct 2012, 02:16:56 EST by Sandrine Ducrot on behalf of Centre for Advanced Imaging