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J Psychiatr Res. 2008 Jul;42(9):734-45. Epub 2007 Sep 10.

Influence of trait anxiety on inhibitory control in alcohol-dependent patients: simultaneous acquisition of ERPs and BOLD responses.

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Department of Psychiatry, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Nussbaumstrasse 7, D-80336 Munich, Germany.


Alcohol-dependence is often associated with comorbid psychiatric symptoms. However, the results concerning the influence of these symptoms on cognitive functioning in alcoholism are still inconsistent. The aim of this study was to determine performance monitoring in healthy volunteers and alcohol-dependent patients, and to assess the influence of trait anxiety on these processes. Sixteen healthy volunteers and 16 detoxified alcohol-dependent patients completed an auditory go/nogo paradigm. Functional magnetic resonance imaging, event-related potentials and behavioral data were acquired simultaneously. The patients were classified by median split based on level of self-rated trait anxiety (state-trait anxiety inventory; STAI). The results showed no significant differences regarding inhibition-associated electrophysiological and behavioral responses between alcohol-dependent patients with high-trait anxiety scores and alcohol-addicts with low-STAI scores. However, the functional MRI data revealed elevated activations during the response inhibition task especially in the middle frontal gyrus (BA 6/9), the superior frontal gyrus (BA 6/8/9) and the right inferior frontal gyrus, as well as temporo-parietal brain regions in patients with high-trait anxiety compared to non-anxious alcohol-addicts. Patients and healthy controls showed comparable results with regard to neural and behavioral responses. These results suggest that inhibitory control capacities of alcohol-dependent patients are not consistent: alcohol-addicts with high-trait anxiety ratings showed elevated neural responses compared to patients without any comorbid psychiatric symptoms. This may indicate that comorbid psychiatric symptoms need to be considered when assessing brain responses in alcohol-dependent patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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