Functional Brain Networks Associated With Cognitive Control, Cocaine Dependence, and Treatment Outcome


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Abstract

Individuals with cocaine dependence often evidence poor cognitive control. The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate networks of functional connectivity underlying cognitive control in cocaine dependence and examine the relationship of the networks to the disorder and its treatment. Independent component analysis (ICA) was applied to fMRI data to investigate if regional activations underlying cognitive control processes operate in functional networks, and whether these networks relate to performance and treatment outcome measures in cocaine dependence. Twenty patients completed a Stroop task during fMRI prior to entering outpatient treatment and were compared to 20 control participants. ICA identified five distinct functional networks related to cognitive control interference events. Cocaine-dependent patients displayed differences in performance-related recruitment of three networks. Reduced involvement of a “top-down” fronto-cingular network contributing to conflict monitoring correlated with better treatment retention. Greater engagement of two “bottom-up” subcortical and ventral prefrontal networks related to cue-elicited motivational processing correlated with abstinence during treatment. The identification of subcortical networks linked to cocaine abstinence and cortical networks to treatment retention suggests that specific circuits may represent important, complementary targets in treatment development for cocaine dependence.

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