Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain abnormalities linked to impaired self-awareness in cocaine addiction

Date:
November 20, 2013
Source:
Mount Sinai Medical Center
Summary:
New research reveals long-term cocaine abuse may be associated with deficits in parts of the brain involved in monitoring and overseeing one’s own behavior.

New research from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai reveals long-term cocaine abuse may be associated with deficits in parts of the brain involved in monitoring and overseeing one's own behavior. The findings call into question the long-held clinical assumption that addicted individuals continue their compulsive drug use because of oppositional denial or lying, or because of careless minimization of their problems. The findings are published online Nov. 20 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Using functional and structural MR imaging procedures, investigators were able to visualize abnormalities in error responding and gray matter integrity in the part of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex, which controls many cognitive functions, including recognizing and responding to mistakes. Researchers sorted the addicted individuals by self-awareness, based on whether they were able to provide accurate reports of their own choice behavior and through a written questionnaire that assessed emotional functioning. Results were compared against healthy controls and cocaine-addicted individuals who did not have these self-awareness deficits.

"Quantifiable functional and structural abnormalities in the brain were easy to see in the MRIs of cocaine-addicted individuals with impaired self-awareness," said Rita Z. Goldstein, PhD, the study's senior author and Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "These deficits were prominent even when we compared this subgroup of individuals with other cocaine-addicted individuals whose self-awareness was intact." More precisely, the anterior cingulate cortex was morphologically smaller and responded abnormally to errors in the cocaine-addicted individuals with impaired self-awareness.

Scott J. Moeller, PhD, the lead author of the study, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, pointed out that the findings could have important clinical implications. "Clearly, one-size-fits-all treatment options for drug addiction are not working effectively," he said. "The good news is that our findings suggest treatment options that might be especially useful for individuals with impaired self-awareness. For example, pre-therapy motivational interviews may help increase motivation to seek treatment in the first place. Once at the clinic, additional intervention for these individuals could include mindfulness therapies to cultivate self-awareness of substance use triggers and consequences." The goal of these therapies would be to help counteract the anterior cingulate abnormalities, improve self-awareness and self-control, and ultimately decrease problematic drug abuse.

Based on these findings, the researchers plan to develop new MRI paradigms to investigate different facets of self-awareness that they were unable to target in this study. They also plan to launch longitudinal and clinical studies to test how self-awareness relates to drug treatment outcomes. In the longer-term, the authors foresee expanding the idea to other psychiatric disorders, such as gambling and eating disorders, which like drug addiction have not been traditionally linked with self-awareness limitations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mount Sinai Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Scott J. Moeller, Anna B. Konova, Muhammad A. Parvaz, Dardo Tomasi, Richard D. Lane, Carolyn Fort, Rita Z. Goldstein. Functional, Structural, and Emotional Correlates of Impaired Insight in Cocaine Addiction. JAMA Psychiatry, 2013; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.2833

Cite This Page:

Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Brain abnormalities linked to impaired self-awareness in cocaine addiction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131120192151.htm>.
Mount Sinai Medical Center. (2013, November 20). Brain abnormalities linked to impaired self-awareness in cocaine addiction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131120192151.htm
Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Brain abnormalities linked to impaired self-awareness in cocaine addiction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131120192151.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stroke in Young Adults

Stroke in Young Adults

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A stroke can happen at any time and affect anyone regardless of age. This mother chose to give her son independence and continue to live a normal life after he had a stroke at 18 years old. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Distracted Adults: ADHD?

Distracted Adults: ADHD?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Most people don’t realize that ADHD isn’t just for kids. It can affect the work as well as personal lives of many adults, and often times they don’t even know they have it. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Sight and Sounds of Autism

The Sight and Sounds of Autism

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A new study is explaining why for some people with autism what they see and what they hear is out of sync. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experiences Make Us Happy, Even Just Waiting For Them

Experiences Make Us Happy, Even Just Waiting For Them

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) New research finds we get more excited to buy experiences than we do to buy material things. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins