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Addict Behav. 2019 Jun 3;99:106009. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.05.033. [Epub ahead of print]

Functional and structural connectivity of the executive control network in college binge drinkers.

Author information

1
Psychological Neuroscience Lab, CIPsi, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Campus Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal. Electronic address: soniamachado@psi.uminho.pt.
2
Psychological Neuroscience Lab, CIPsi, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Campus Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal.
3
Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health Sciences, University of Minho, Campus Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal; ICVS/3B's - PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal.
4
Psychological Neuroscience Lab, CIPsi, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Campus Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal; Spaulding Neuromodulation Center, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital. Harvard Medical School, Charlestown campus: 79/96 13th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA; Department of Applied Psychology, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, 404 International Village, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Abstract

Binge Drinking (BD) is a pattern of excessive alcohol consumption highly prevalent among college students, and has been associated with structural and functional alterations of brain networks. Recent advances in the resting-state connectivity analysis have boosted the research of the network-level connectivity disturbances associated with many psychiatric and neurological disorders, including addiction. Accordingly, atypical functional connectivity patterns in resting-state networks such as the Executive Control Network (ECN) have been found in substance users and alcohol-dependent individuals. In this study, we assessed for the first time the ECN functional and structural connectivity in a group of 34 college students, 20 (10 women) binge drinkers (BDs) in comparison with a group of 14 (8 women) alcohol abstinent controls (AACs). Overall, our findings documented increased resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) in the BDs left middle frontal cortex of the left ECN in comparison to the AACs, while no structural connectivity differences were observed between groups. Pearson correlations revealed a positive association between the left middle frontal gyrus rsFC and the frequency of BD episodes per month, in the BD group. These findings suggest that maintaining a pattern of acute and intermittent alcohol consumption during important stages of brain development, as the transition from adolescence to adulthood, is associated with impaired ECN rsFC despite no group differences being yet noticed in the ECN structural connectivity.

KEYWORDS:

Binge drinking; College-students; DTI; Executive control network; Resting-state fMRI

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