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1.  Impulsivity, Neural Deficits, and the Addictions: The “Oops” Factor in Relapse 
Journal of addictive diseases  2007;26(0 1):25-39.
Impulsive behaviors are observed in a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including substance use, bipolar, attention-deficit hyperactivity, antisocial and borderline personality, gambling, and eating disorders. The shared phenotype of impulsivity is thought to significantly contribute to both the etiology and perpetuation of these disorders. In this review, we focus upon the relevance of impulsivity to the addictive disorders, particularly substance use disorders. First, the literature supporting the presence of impulsive behaviors prior to the onset of drug use and addiction is discussed. The relevance of impulsivity to relapse is then presented, with a focus on three distinct neurocognitive constructs: automaticity, response inhibition, and decision making. Automaticity is a quickly occurring relapse process resulting from the learned habits induced by persistent drug use. Addicted persons with response inhibition deficits are unable to suppress these previously reinforced behaviors. Decision-making deficits contribute to relapse through a poorly considered assessment of the consequences of drug use. The brain regions associated with each model of impulsive behavior are described, and relevant neurobiologic disruptions in addicted subjects are discussed in the context of their specific neurocognitive deficit(s). Descriptive confusions in the terminology and confounds inherent in the study of impulsivity are described. Empirical investigations documenting the hypothesized relationship between specific deficits in impulsive behaviors, coupled with their neurobiological correlates, and relapse should be the focus of future studies.
PMCID: PMC4321793  PMID: 19283972
Addictive disorders; impulsive behavior; substance use; automaticity
2.  Verbal Learning and Memory in Patients with Dementia with Lewy Bodies or Parkinson's Disease with Dementia 
This study compared verbal learning and memory in patients with autopsy-confirmed dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and patients with Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD). Twenty-four DLB patients, 24 PDD patients, and 24 normal comparison participants were administered the California Verbal Learning Test. The three groups were matched on demographic variables and the two patient groups were matched on the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale. The results indicated that DLB patients recalled less information than PDD patients on all but one recall measure and displayed a more rapid rate of forgetting. In contrast, the PDD patients committed a greater percent of perseveration errors than the DLB patients. The two groups did not differ in the percentage of recall intrusion errors or any measures of recognition. A discriminant function analysis (DFA) using short delay cued recall, percent perseveration errors, and list b recall, differentiated the DLB and PDD groups with 81.3% accuracy. The application of the DFA algorithm to another sample of 42 PDD patients resulted in a 78.6% correct classification rate. The results suggest that, despite equivalent levels of general cognitive impairment, patients with DLB or PDD exhibit a different pattern of verbal learning and memory deficits.
PMCID: PMC2935683  PMID: 19221922
3.  Flanker Compatibility Effects in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease: Impact of Target Onset Delay and Trial-by-Trial Stimulus Variation 
Brain and cognition  2006;63(3):247-259.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients and healthy controls were administered a flanker task that consisted of the presentation of colored targets and distractors. Participants were required to attend to the center target and identify its color. The stimulus displays were either congruent (i.e., the target and flankers were the same color) or incongruent. The time between the onset of the flanker and the target color (the target onset delay) was either short or long. Results indicated that PD patients and controls did not differ in the magnitude of the flanker effect within individual trials in that both groups demonstrated a typical flanker effect at the short target onset delay and neither group demonstrated a flanker effect at the longer delay. However, when performance was examined on a trial-by-trial basis, PD patients demonstrated a slowing of reaction time relative to controls when having to make the same response across consecutive trials at longer inter-trial intervals when the flankers were incongruent across consecutive trials and the display on the second of two trials was incongruent. These results indicate that PD patients are impaired in inhibiting the distractors over an extended delay and that this deficit may impact motor responding in these patients, suggesting that the basal ganglia contribute to the interface of attention and action.
PMCID: PMC1868519  PMID: 17049703
Parkinson’s disease; attention; basal ganglia; switching; inhibition; action selection

Results 1-3 (3)