Perspectives on fronto-fugal circuitry from human imaging of alcohol use disorders


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Abstract

Descriptions of the cognitive functions affected by alcohol use disorders (AUD) often highlight dysfunction of executive processes such attention, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Such complex cognitive functions have historically been ascribed to the prefrontal cortex. AUD, however, disrupts extensive areas of the brain. Structural and functional MRI studies suggest a central role for degradation of circuitry originating in the prefrontal cortex including nodes in widespread brain regions. This review features fronto-fugal circuits affected by AUD including frontocerebellar, frontolimbic, and frontostriatal networks and their relations to the salient, enduring, and debilitating cognitive and motor deficits reported in AUD.This article is part of the Special Issue entitled “Alcoholism”.HighlightsEffects of Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD) on brain based on neuroimaging and neuropsychology studies are presented.Compromised brain networks are organized according to three systems: frontocerebellar, frontolimbic, and frontostriatal.Frontocerebellar systems underlie motor and working memory deficits in AUD.Frontolimbic systems underlie declarative memory and emotional regulation deficits in AUD.Frontostriatal systems are involved in the transition from casual to compulsive alcohol consumption.

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