Prefrontal cortex activity is reduced in gambling and nongambling substance users during decision-making

Department of Radiology, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO 80262, USA.
Human Brain Mapping (Impact Factor: 5.97). 12/2007; 28(12):1276-86. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.20344
Source: PubMed


Poor decision-making is a hallmark of addiction, whether to substances or activities. Performance on a widely used test of decision-making, the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), can discriminate controls from persons with ventral medial frontal lesions, substance-dependence, and pathological gambling. Positron emission tomography (PET) studies indicate that substance-dependent individuals show altered prefrontal activity on the task. Here we adapted the IGT to an fMRI setting to test the hypothesis that defects in ventral medial and prefrontal processing are associated with impaired decisions that involve risk but may differ depending on whether substance dependence is comorbid with gambling problems.
18 controls, 14 substance-dependent individuals (SD), and 16 SD with gambling problems (SDPG) underwent fMRI while performing a modified version of the IGT.
Group differences were observed in ventral medial frontal, right frontopolar, and superior frontal cortex during decision-making. Controls showed the greatest activity, followed by SDPG, followed by SD.
Our results support a hypothesis that defects in ventral medial frontal processing lead to impaired decisions that involve risk. Reductions in right prefrontal activity during decision-making appear to be modulated by the presence of gambling problems and may reflect impaired working memory, stimulus reward valuation, or cue reactivity in substance-dependent individuals.


Available from: Eric Claus
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    • "Crockford et al., 2005; Potenza et al., 2003b; van Holst et al., 2012a; Goudriaan et al., 2010); risky decision making (e.g. Tanabe et al., 2007); inhibitory control (Potenza et al., 2003a); presentation of non-monetary reward , such as personally relevant stimuli (e.g. de Greck et al., 2010); probability and delay discounting of monetary reward (e.g. Miedl et al., 2012) as well as processing of monetary gains and losses (Miedl et al., 2012; Sescousse et al., 2013; Miedl et al., 2010; Reuter et al., 2005). "

    Suchttherapie 08/2015; 16(S 01). DOI:10.1055/s-0035-1557564 · 0.16 Impact Factor
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    • "cues, and delay discounting (Eber and Shaffer, 2000; Knutson et al., 2003; Volkow et al., 2003; Crockford et al., 2005; Tanabe et al., 2007; Beck et al., 2009; Frascella et al., 2010; Choi et al., 2012; Sescousse et al., 2013). Complementary studies using positron emission tomography (PET) suggested enhanced dopamine release in PG subjects in response to pharmacological challenge and gambling (Joutsa et al., 2012; Boileau et al., 2014). "
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    Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 04/2015; 232(3). DOI:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.04.001 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    • "Within-group images were thresholded using cluster detection statistics, with a height threshold of z > 2.3 and a cluster probability of P < 0.05, corrected for wholebrain multiple comparisons based on Gaussian random field theory. Between-group images were thresholded using cluster detection statistics, with a height threshold of z > 2.3 and a cluster probability of P < 0.05, using a priori region of interest (ROI) constructed as spheres ranging from 5 to 10 mm and centered based on peak coordinates from previous brain imaging studies on the IGT (Bolla et al. 2003; Tanabe et al. 2007; Christakou et al. 2009; Li et al. 2010; Power et al. 2012). ROIs comprised the DLPFC (10 mm spheres, coordinates: ±40, 28, 30), "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to examine the impact of different neural systems on monetary decision making in frequent poker gamblers, who vary in their degree of problem gambling. Fifteen frequent poker players, ranging from non-problem to high-problem gambling, and 15 non-gambler controls were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). During IGT deck selection, between-group fMRI analyses showed that frequent poker gamblers exhibited higher ventral-striatal but lower dorsolateral prefrontal and orbitofrontal activations as compared with controls. Moreover, using functional connectivity analyses, we observed higher ventral-striatal connectivity in poker players, and in regions involved in attentional/motor control (posterior cingulate), visual (occipital gyrus) and auditory (temporal gyrus) processing. In poker gamblers, scores of problem gambling severity were positively associated with ventral-striatal activations and with the connectivity between the ventral-striatum seed and the occipital fusiform gyrus and the middle temporal gyrus. Present results are consistent with findings from recent brain imaging studies showing that gambling disorder is associated with heightened motivational-reward processes during monetary decision making, which may hamper one's ability to moderate his level of monetary risk taking. © 2015 Society for the Study of Addiction.
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