Negative functional coupling between the right fronto-parietal and limbic resting state networks predicts increased self-control and later substance use onset in adolescence
Dysregulation in cognitive control networks may mediate core characteristics of drug addiction. Cocaine dependence has been particularly associated with low activation in the frontoparietal regions during conditions requiring decision making and cognitive control. This functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study aimed to examine differential brain-related activation to cocaine addiction during an inhibitory control paradigm, the "Counting" Stroop task, given the uncertainties of previous studies using positron emission tomography. Sixteen comparison men and 16 cocaine-dependent men performed a cognitive "Counting" Stroop task in a 1.5T Siemens Avanto. The cocaine-dependent patient group and the control group were matched for age, level of education and general intellectual functioning. Groups did not differ in terms of the interference measures deriving from the counting Stroop task. Moreover, the cocaine-dependent group showed lower activation in the right inferior frontal gyrus, the right inferior parietal gyrus and the right superior temporal gyrus than the control group. Cocaine patients did not show any brain area with increased activation when compared with controls. In short, Stroop-interference was accompanied by lower activation in the right frontoparietal network in cocaine-dependent patients, even in the absence of inter-group behavioral differences. Our study is the first application of a counting Stroop task using fMRI to study cocaine dependence and yields results that corroborate the involvement of a frontoparietal network in the neural changes associated with attentional interference deficits in cocaine-dependent men.