Cognitive control dysfunction and abnormal frontal cortex activation in stimulant drug users and their biological siblings.
ABSTRACT: Cognitive and neural abnormalities are known to accompany chronic drug abuse, with impairments in cognition and changes in cortical structure seen in stimulant-dependent individuals. However, premorbid differences have also been observed in the brains and behavior of individuals at risk for substance abuse, before they develop dependence. Endophenotype research has emerged as a useful method for assessing preclinical traits that may be risk factors for pathology by studying patient populations and their undiagnosed first-degree relatives. This study used the color-word Stroop task to assess executive functioning in stimulant-dependent individuals, their unaffected biological siblings and unrelated healthy control volunteers using a functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm. Both the stimulant-dependent and sibling participants demonstrated impairments in cognitive control and processing speed on the task, registering significantly longer response latencies. However, the two groups generated very different neural responses, with the sibling participants exhibiting a significant decrease in activation in the inferior frontal gyrus compared with both stimulant-dependent individuals and control participants. Both target groups also demonstrated a decrease in hemispheric laterality throughout the task, exhibiting a disproportionate increase in right hemispheric activation, which was associated with their behavioral inefficiencies. These findings not only suggest a possible risk factor for stimulant abuse of poor inhibitory control and cortical inefficiency but they also demonstrate possible adaptations in the brains of stimulant users.
Project description:Genetic factors have been implicated in the development of substance abuse disorders, but the role of pre-existing vulnerability in addiction is still poorly understood. Personality traits of impulsivity and sensation-seeking are highly prevalent in chronic drug users and have been linked with an increased risk for substance abuse. However, it has not been clear whether these personality traits are a cause or an effect of stimulant drug dependence.We compared self-reported levels of impulsivity and sensation-seeking between 30 sibling pairs of stimulant-dependent individuals and their biological brothers/sisters who did not have a significant drug-taking history and 30 unrelated, nondrug-taking control volunteers.Siblings of chronic stimulant users reported significantly higher levels of trait-impulsivity than control volunteers but did not differ from control volunteers with regard to sensation-seeking traits. Stimulant-dependent individuals reported significantly higher levels of impulsivity and sensation-seeking compared with both their siblings and control volunteers.These data indicate that impulsivity is a behavioral endophenotype mediating risk for stimulant dependence that may be exacerbated by chronic drug exposure, whereas abnormal sensation-seeking is more likely to be an effect of stimulant drug abuse.
Project description:The impaired response inhibition and salience attribution (iRISA) model proposes that impaired response inhibition and salience attribution underlie drug seeking and taking. To update this model, we systematically reviewed 105 task-related neuroimaging studies (n > 15/group) published since 2010. Results demonstrate specific impairments within six large-scale brain networks (reward, habit, salience, executive, memory, and self-directed networks) during drug cue exposure, decision making, inhibitory control, and social-emotional processing. Addicted individuals demonstrated increased recruitment of these networks during drug-related processing but a blunted response during non-drug-related processing, with the same networks also being implicated during resting state. Associations with real-life drug use, relapse, therapeutic interventions, and the relevance to initiation of drug use during adolescence support the clinical relevance of the results. Whereas the salience and executive networks showed impairments throughout the addiction cycle, the reward network was dysregulated at later stages of abuse. Effects were similar in alcohol, cannabis, and stimulant addiction.
Project description:The introduction of magnetoencephalography has made it possible to study electromagnetic signaling in deeper, paralimbic cortical structures such as the medial prefrontal/anterior cingulate (ACC) and medial parietal/posterior cingulate (PCC) cortices. Self-awareness and self-control have been attributed to these regions. To test the hypothesis that they are dysfunctional in pathological gambling with poor self-control, we studied gamblers with and without previous stimulant abuse and age- and sex-matched controls. We found that pathological gamblers were more impulsive than controls in a stop-signal task and attributed this to changes in the activity of the paralimbic network: Pathological gamblers had reduced synchronization at rest in the high gamma range (55-100 Hz) compared with controls and failed to show an increase in gamma synchronization during rest compared with the task, as observed in controls. Subgroup analysis revealed that pathological gamblers without a history of stimulant abuse had lower PCC power during the stop-signal task compared with controls and gamblers with previous stimulant abuse. Furthermore, gamblers with a history of stimulant abuse had up to four times higher power at the ACC site during rest and the task compared with controls. In conclusion, pathological gamblers had higher impulsivity and functional paralimbic abnormalities, which could not be explained by a history of stimulant abuse. In addition, previous stimulant abuse had a marked effect on the amplitude of oscillatory brain activity in the ACC and PCC, suggesting long-term deleterious effects of repeated dopaminergic drug exposure. These consequences should be investigated in more detail in longitudinal studies.
Project description:Although cannabis abuse (CA) is known to be associated with schizophrenia, the causal nature of this association is unclear, with prodromal effects complicating its interpretation.From Swedish national registry databases, we used a co-relative case-control design with full-sibling, half-sibling and first-cousin comparisons, alongside a general Swedish population sample. Using ICD codes, 5456 individuals with an initial diagnosis of schizophrenia (2000-2010) were matched with five schizophrenia-free controls. We further identified first-cousin, half-sibling and full-sibling pairs discordant for CA and statistically extrapolated results for discordant monozygotic (MZ) twins.Within the general Swedish population, CA was strongly associated with later schizophrenia [odds ratio (OR) 10.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 8.99-12.11]. This association was substantially attenuated both by increasing temporal delays between CA exposure and schizophrenia diagnosis and by controlling for increasing degrees of familial confounding. Extrapolated discordant MZ pairs suggested that fully controlling for confounding familial factors reduced the association between CA and later schizophrenia to more modest levels (ORs of approximately 3.3 and 1.6 with 3- and 7-year temporal delays respectively). Opiate, sedative, cocaine/stimulant and hallucinogen abuse were also strongly associated with subsequent schizophrenia in the general population. After controlling for familial confounding, only cocaine/stimulant exposure remained associated.CA has an appreciable causal impact on future risk for schizophrenia. However, population-based estimates of cannabis-schizophrenia co-morbidity substantially overestimate their causal association. Predictions of the cases of schizophrenia that might be prevented by reduced cannabis consumption based on population associations are therefore likely to be considerably overestimated.
Project description:Cannabis can produce and/or exacerbate psychotic symptoms in vulnerable individuals. Early exposure to cannabis, particularly in combination with genetic factors, increases the risk of a subsequent, primary, psychotic disorder. Because paranoia is a common feature of stimulant abuse and cocaine-dependent individuals frequently endorse a history of cannabis abuse, we examined whether early cannabis exposure, in conjunction with polymorphic variation in the catechol-O-methyl transferase gene (COMT Val158Met), influences the risk for cocaine-induced paranoia (CIP).Cannabis-use history was obtained in 1140 cocaine-dependent individuals from a family-based (affected sibling pair) study using the Semi-Structured Assessment for Drug Dependence and Alcoholism (SSADDA). Logistic regression and generalized estimating equations' analyses were used to examine the role of adolescent-onset cannabis use (< or =15 years of age) on CIP risk, both controlling for previously implicated CIP risk factors and familial relationships, and considering potential interactions with COMT Val158Met genotype.Cocaine-dependent individuals who endorsed CIP had significantly higher rates of adolescent-onset cannabis use than those without CIP (62.2% vs. 50.2%; chi(2)=15.2, df=1, p<0.0001), a finding that remained after controlling for sibling correlations and other risk factors. There were no effects of COMT genotype or genotype by early cannabis onset interactions. A modest (OR=1.4) and nearly significant (p=0.053) effect of CIP status in probands on CIP status in siblings was also noted.Adolescent-onset cannabis use increases the risk of CIP in cocaine-dependent individuals. COMT genotype and its interaction with early cannabis exposure did not emerge as significant predictors of CIP. In addition, trait vulnerability to CIP may also be familial in nature.
Project description:Chronic stimulant abuse is associated with both impairment in decision making and structural abnormalities in brain gray and white matter. Recent data suggest these structural abnormalities may be related to functional impairment in important behavioral processes.In 15 cocaine-dependent and 18 control subjects, we examined relationships between decision-making performance on the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) and white matter integrity as measured by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Whole brain voxelwise analyses showed that, relative to controls, the cocaine group had lower fractional anisotropy (FA) and higher mean of the second and third eigenvalues (lambda perpendicular) in frontal and parietal white matter regions and the corpus callosum. Cocaine subjects showed worse performance on the IGT, notably over the last 40 trials. Importantly, FA and lambda perpendicular values in these regions showed a significant relationship with IGT performance on the last 40 trials.Compromised white matter integrity in cocaine dependence may be related to functional impairments in decision making.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Stimulant drugs such as cocaine and amphetamine have a high abuse liability, but not everyone who uses them develops dependence. However, the risk for dependence is increased for individuals with a family history of addiction. We hypothesized that individuals without a family history of dependence who have been using cocaine recreationally for several years but have not made the transition to dependence will differ in terms of personality traits and brain structure from individuals who are either dependent on stimulants or at risk for dependence. METHODS:We compared 27 individuals without a familial risk of dependence who had been using cocaine recreationally with 50 adults with stimulant dependence, their nondependent siblings (n = 50), and unrelated healthy volunteers (n = 52) who had neither a personal nor a family history of dependence. All participants underwent a magnetic resonance imaging brain scan and completed a selection of personality measures that have been associated with substance abuse. RESULTS:Increased sensation-seeking traits and abnormal orbitofrontal and parahippocampal volume were shared by individuals who were dependent on stimulant drugs or used cocaine recreationally. By contrast, increased levels of impulsive and compulsive personality traits and limbic-striatal enlargement were shared by stimulant-dependent individuals and their unaffected siblings. CONCLUSIONS:We provide evidence for distinct neurobiological phenotypes that are either associated with familial vulnerability for dependence or with regular stimulant drug use. Our findings further suggest that some individuals with high sensation-seeking traits but no familial vulnerability for dependence are likely to use cocaine but may have relatively low risk for developing dependence.
Project description:The association between stimulant drug use and aberrant reward processing is well-documented in the literature, but the nature of these abnormalities remains elusive. The present study aims to disentangle the separate and interacting effects of stimulant drug use and pre-existing familial risk on abnormal reward processing associated with stimulant drug addiction. We used the Monetary Incentive Delay task, a well-validated measure of reward processing, during fMRI scanning in four distinct groups: individuals with familial risk who were either stimulant drug-dependent (N?=?41) or had never used stimulant drugs (N?=?46); and individuals without familial risk who were either using stimulant drugs (N?=?25) or not (N?=?48). We first examined task-related whole-brain activation followed by a psychophysiological interaction analysis to further explore brain functional connectivity. For analyses, we used a univariate model with two fixed factors (familial risk and stimulant drug use). Our results showed increased task-related activation in the putamen and motor cortex of stimulant-using participants. We also found altered task-related functional connectivity between the putamen and frontal regions in participants with a familial risk (irrespective of whether they were using stimulant drugs or not). Additionally, we identified an interaction between stimulant drug use and familial risk in task-related functional connectivity between the putamen and motor-related cortical regions in potentially at-risk individuals. Our findings suggest that abnormal task-related activation in motor brain systems is associated with regular stimulant drug use, whereas abnormal task-related functional connectivity in frontostriatal brain systems, in individuals with familial risk, may indicate pre-existing neural vulnerability for developing addiction.
Project description:There are persistent concerns of long-term effects of stimulant ADHD medication on the development of substance abuse.Using Swedish national registers, we studied all individuals born between 1960 and 1998 and diagnosed with ADHD (26,249 men and 12,504 women). We investigated the association between stimulant ADHD medication in 2006 and substance abuse during 2009. Substance abuse was indexed by substance-related death, crime, or hospital visits.ADHD medication was not associated with increased rate of substance abuse. Actually, the rate during 2009 was 31% lower among those prescribed ADHD medication in 2006, even after controlling for medication in 2009 and other covariates (hazard ratio: 0.69; 95% confidence interval: 0.57-0.84). Also, the longer the duration of medication, the lower the rate of substance abuse. Similar risk reductions were suggested among children and when investigating the association between stimulant ADHD medication and concomitant short-term abuse.We found no indication of increased risks of substance abuse among individuals prescribed stimulant ADHD medication; if anything, the data suggested a long-term protective effect on substance abuse. Although stimulant ADHD medication does not seem to increase the risk for substance abuse, clinicians should remain alert to the potential problem of stimulant misuse and diversion in ADHD patients.
Project description:Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is present in 8% to 12% of children, and 4% of adults worldwide. Children with ADHD can have learning impairments, poor selfesteem, social dysfunction, and an increased risk of substance abuse, including cigarette smoking. Overall, the rate of treatment with medication for patients with ADHD has been increasing since 2008, with ? 2 million children now being treated with stimulants. The rise of adolescent prescription ADHD medication abuse has occurred along with a concomitant increase of stimulant medication availability. Of adults presenting with a substance use disorder (SUD), 20% to 30% have concurrent ADHD, and 20% to 40% of adults with ADHD have a history of SUD. Following a brief review of the etiology of ADHD, its diagnosis and treatment, we focus on the benefits of early and appropriate testing for a predisposition to ADHD. We suggest that by genotyping patients for a number of known, associated dopaminergic polymorphisms, especially at an early age, misdiagnoses and/or over-diagnosis can be reduced. Ethical and legal issues of early genotyping are considered. As many as 30% of individuals with ADHD are estimated to either have secondary side-effects or are not responsive to stimulant medication. We also consider the benefits of non-stimulant medication and alternative treatment modalities, which include diet, herbal medications, iron supplementation, and neurofeedback. With the goals of improving treatment of patients with ADHD and SUD prevention, we encourage further work in both genetic diagnosis and novel treatment approaches.