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1.  Metabolic Abnormalities in Lobar and Subcortical Brain Regions of Abstinent Polysubstance Users: Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging 
Aims: The aim of the study was to explore neurometabolic and associated cognitive characteristics of patients with polysubstance use (PSU) in comparison with patients with predominant alcohol use using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Methods: Brain metabolite concentrations were examined in lobar and subcortical brain regions of three age-matched groups: 1-month-abstinent alcohol-dependent PSU, 1-month-abstinent individuals dependent on alcohol alone (ALC) and light drinking controls (CON). Neuropsychological testing assessed cognitive function. Results: While CON and ALC had similar metabolite levels, persistent metabolic abnormalities (primarily higher myo-inositol) were present in temporal gray matter, cerebellar vermis and lenticular nuclei of PSU. Moreover, lower cortical gray matter concentration of the neuronal marker N-acetylaspartate within PSU correlated with higher cocaine (but not alcohol) use quantities and with a reduced cognitive processing speed. Conclusions: These metabolite group differences reflect cellular/astroglial injury and/or dysfunction in alcohol-dependent PSU. Associations of other metabolite concentrations with neurocognitive performance suggest their functional relevance. The metabolic alterations in PSU may represent polydrug abuse biomarkers and/or potential targets for pharmacological and behavioral PSU-specific treatment.
PMCID: PMC3746806  PMID: 23797281
2.  Measures of Learning, Memory and Processing Speed Accurately Predict Smoking Status in Short-term Abstinent Treatment-seeking Alcohol-dependent Individuals 
Aim: Chronic cigarette smoking appears to adversely affect several domains of neurocognition in those with alcohol use disorders (AUDs). The primary goal of this study was to identify which measures commonly used to assess neurocognition in AUDs accurately predict smoking status of individuals seeking treatment of alcohol dependence. Methods: Treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent participants (ALC; n = 92) completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery after 33 ± 9 days of abstinence. Measures significantly different between smoking and non-smoking ALC were entered as predictors in binary logistic regression and discriminant analysis models, with smoking status as the dependent variable. Results: Smoking ALC performed significantly worse than non-smoking ALC on measures assessing processing speed, auditory–verbal and visuospatial learning and memory. Using these measures as predictors, a logistic regression model accurately classified 91% of smokers and non-smokers into their respective groups overall and accounted for 68% of the variance in smoking status. The discriminant analysis confirmed the findings from the logistic regression. In smoking ALC, smoking chronicity was inversely related to performance on multiple measures after controlling for lifetime alcohol consumption. Conclusions: Measures of processing speed, learning and memory robustly predicted the smoking status of ALC with high sensitivity and specificity during early abstinence. The results identified specific measures within a comprehensive neurocognitive battery that discriminated smoking and non-smoking alcohol-dependent individuals with a high sensitivity and specificity. The association of greater smoking chronicity and poorer performance on multiple measures after control for alcohol consumption suggests that chronic smoking adds an additional burden to neurocognitive function in those with alcohol dependence.
PMCID: PMC2981519  PMID: 20923865
3.  Combined Neuroimaging, Neurocognitive and Psychiatric Factors to Predict Alcohol Consumption Following Treatment for Alcohol Dependence 
Aims: Resumption of hazardous drinking after treatment is common in alcohol use disorders (AUD). This study examined the ability of multimodality magnetic resonance, neurocognitive, psychiatric and demographic, to predict alcohol consumption after treatment for AUD. Methods: Seventy treatment-seeking participants completed 1.5T magnetic resonance studies, yielding regional gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) surrogate markers of neuronal integrity (N-acetylaspartate: NAA) and cell membrane turnover/synthesis (choline: Cho), assessment of major psychiatric disorders and comprehensive neurocognitive assessment after ∼1 month of abstinence. Participants were followed up 6–12 months after treatment and classified as Abstainers (no alcohol consumption; n = 26) and Resumers (any alcohol consumption; n = 44). Abstainers and Resumers were contrasted on various outcome measures, and those that significantly differed between groups were entered as factors in a logistical regression model to predict drinking status at follow-up. Results: The following variables were independent predictors of resumption of drinking: temporal GM NAA, frontal WM NAA, frontal GM Cho, processing speed and comorbid unipolar mood disorder. With each standard deviation unit decrease in temporal GM NAA, frontal WM NAA, frontal GM Cho and processing speed, the odds of resumption of drinking were increased 3.1, 3.3, 6.4 and 14.2 times, respectively. Diagnosis of a unipolar mood disorder was associated with 14.5-fold increased odds of resumed drinking. Conclusions: The findings suggest that Resumers, relative to Abstainers, demonstrated greater abnormalities in anterior frontal-subcortical circuits involved in mood and behavioral regulation, and development and maintenance of alcohol use disorders, The magnetic resonance-derived variables used in this study may provide additional information regarding the prediction and neurobiological correlates of resumption of hazardous drinking.
PMCID: PMC2720770  PMID: 18818189

Results 1-3 (3)