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, 35 (12), 2339-45

Neural Substrates of Attentional Bias for Smoking-Related Cues: An FMRI Study

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Neural Substrates of Attentional Bias for Smoking-Related Cues: An FMRI Study

Amy C Janes et al. Neuropsychopharmacology.

Abstract

Attentional bias for drug-related stimuli, as measured by emotional Stroop (ES) tasks, is predictive of treatment outcomes for tobacco smoking and other abused drugs. Characterizing relationships between smoking-related attentional bias and brain reactivity to smoking images may help in identifying neural substrates critical to relapse vulnerability. To this end, we investigated putative relationships between interference effects in an offline smoking ES task and functional MRI (fMRI) measures of brain reactivity to smoking vs neutral images in women smokers. Positive correlations were found between attentional bias and reactivity to smoking images in brain areas involved in emotion, memory, interoception, and visual processing, including the amygdala, hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, insula, and occipital cortex. These findings suggest that smokers with elevated attentional biases to smoking-related stimuli may more readily shift attention away from other external stimuli and toward smoking stimuli-induced internal states and emotional memories. Such attentional shifts may contribute to increased interference by smoking cues, possibly increasing relapse vulnerability. Treatments capable of inhibiting shifts to drug cue-induced memories and internal states may lead to personalized tobacco dependence treatment for smokers with high attentional bias to smoking-related stimuli.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Whole-brain analysis correlating brain reactivity to smoking vs neutral images with SES task performance. A positive correlation was found between brain reactivity and SES interference effects in the insula, amygdala, hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, and occipital cortex. Top panel crosshairs are located in the right insula. Talairach (Talairach and Tournoux, 1988) coordinates of the crosshairs: x=36, y=2, y=−12. Bottom panel crosshairs are located in the right parahippocampal gyrus (x=17, y=−32, x−14). For all panels rmin=0.37, pcorrected<0.05.

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