Background: Previous studies have shown that cocaine abusers have cerebral perfusion deficits that may diminish cognitive functioning. This study examined whether cocaine-dependent patients have perfusion abnormalities associated with poor decision-making ability as measured by the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT).
Methods: Seventeen abstinent cocaine-dependent patients were administered the IGT after completion of resting 99mTc-HMPAO single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).
Results: Better IGT performance was negatively correlated with perfusion within the anterior cingulate gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, medial frontal gyrus, and superior frontal gyrus. The time to complete card selections was positively correlated with the severity of impairment.
Conclusions: Resting hyperperfusion in brain regions previously implicated in decision making and response inhibition was associated with worse IGT scores. Impaired performance was related to a greater amount of time taken for card selections, suggesting that reduced ability was due to cognitive factors other than an impulsive response pattern.