Investigation of brain electrophysiological properties among heroin addicts: Quantitative EEG and event‐related potentials

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Over the last few decades, electroencephalographic (EEG) activities have been widely carried out to study brain cognitive dysfunction and neurobiological alterations among heroin addicts (Motlagh et al., 2016). In addition to EEG spectral analysis to examine the effects of heroin on brain functionality (Davydov and Polunina, 2004; Franken et al., 2004; Polunina and Davydov, 2004; Fingelkurts et al., 2006a, 2006b, 2007a, 2007b, 2008, 2009), brain event‐related potential (ERP) components were evaluated as a reliable approach to study cognitive abilities related to information processing, selective attention, and memory updating of addicts (Motlagh et al., 2016). Among various ERP components, measuring the amplitude and latency of mismatch negativity (MMN), P300, and P600 components in standard condition has attracted special attention in ERP evaluation among addicts. These ERPs are associated with brain discrimination abilities, orientation of attention, response resolution, and executive working memory. Additionally, examining cognitive responses to drug‐related stimuli showed promising results in providing better understanding of brain functional alterations during withdrawal and abstinence periods associated with addiction traits such as craving and anhedonia (Franken et al., 2003; Lubman et al., 2007; Jiang et al., 2011). For this purpose, various types of ERP paradigms have been designed to probe subjects' evoked cognitive responses using deviant, affective, and drug‐related stimuli (Motlagh et al., 2016).
MMN is attributed to preattentive processing for change detection associated with conscious discrimination ability (Kraus et al., 1995). It has been evaluated among heroin addicts to measure their deficiency in orienting their attention (Kivisaari et al., 2007; Yang et al., 2009; Morie et al., 2014). P300 is associated with selective attention, memory renewal, motivation, stimulus significance, activation of inhibitory processes (Tomberg and Desmedt, 1998), and attentional operations (Donchin, 1981; Donchin and Coles, 1988; Polich, 1998; McEvoy et al., 2001) and has been investigated among opioid dependents (Bauer, 2001; Marques‐Teixeira and Barbosa, 2005; Lubman et al., 2007; Singh et al., 2009). P600 reflects attributes of second‐pass parsing processes of information processing in association with working memory systems (Guillem et al., 1999; Frisch et al., 2003) and has been suggested to serve as a valuable investigative tool for a more comprehensive understanding of the neurobiological substrate of drug abuse and central executive working memory (Papageorgiou et al., 2001).
It is imperative to note that investigation of cognitive traits associated with striking features of addiction in a single study can help advance the understanding of neurological features of addiction. However, lack of a comprehensive evaluation of electrophysiological variables as a sensitive measure of impaired cognitive control in a single experiment is a major deficiency in the field (Buzzell et al., 2014; Motlagh et al., 2016). Investigating quantitative EEG (qEEG), MMN, P300, and P600 properties can lead to a better understanding of brain neurobiological feature alteration among heroin addicts and offer more insight for a reliable analysis of brain behavior relations related to preattentive processing, attentional deficit, and response inhibition related to the development and maintenance of addictive behaviors. This study aims to introduce a new approach consisting of a comprehensive paradigm to evaluate EEG power spectral density (PSD) and properties of MMN, P300, and P600 components simultaneously. In addition, for the first time in the field of addiction, a state‐of‐the‐art signal‐processing algorithm was applied for single‐trial evaluation of ERP properties.
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