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. 2013 Jul;52(7):747-755.e6.
doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2013.04.013. Epub 2013 Jun 5.

Neuroeconomics and Adolescent Substance Abuse: Individual Differences in Neural Networks and Delay Discounting

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Free PMC article

Neuroeconomics and Adolescent Substance Abuse: Individual Differences in Neural Networks and Delay Discounting

Catherine Stanger et al. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Objective: Many adolescents with substance use problems show poor response to evidence-based treatments. Treatment outcome has been associated with individual differences in impulsive decision making as reflected by delay discounting (DD) rates (preference for immediate rewards). Adolescents with higher rates of DD were expected to show greater neural activation in brain regions mediating impulsive/habitual behavioral choices and less activation in regions mediating reflective/executive behavioral choices.

Method: Thirty adolescents being treated for substance abuse completed a DD task optimized to balance choices of immediate versus delayed rewards, and a control condition accounted for activation during magnitude valuation. A group independent component analysis on functional magnetic resonance imaging time courses identified neural networks engaged during DD. Network activity was correlated with individual differences in discounting rate.

Results: Higher discounting rates were associated with diminished engagement of an executive attention control network involving the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, inferior parietal cortex, cingulate cortex, and precuneus. Higher discounting rates also were associated with less deactivation in a "bottom-up" reward valuation network involving the amygdala, hippocampus, insula, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. These 2 networks were significantly negatively correlated.

Conclusions: Results support relations between competing executive and reward valuation neural networks and temporal decision making, an important, potentially modifiable risk factor relevant for the prevention and treatment of adolescent substance abuse. Clinical trial registration information-The Neuroeconomics of Behavioral Therapies for Adolescent Substance Abuse, http://clinicaltrials.gov/, NCT01093898.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Valuation network: larger, later (LL) choice trials versus control trials. Note: (A) Network map: Depicted regions were coactivated by task, as identified from group independent component analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging time course. (B) Correlation between log-transformed delay discounting rate (lnk) and network activation. Individual contrast values for LL versus control trials (positive value indicates greater activity for LL versus control; negative value indicates less activity for LL versus control) are on the y axis; individual values of lnk are on the x axis.
Figure 1
Figure 1
Valuation network: larger, later (LL) choice trials versus control trials. Note: (A) Network map: Depicted regions were coactivated by task, as identified from group independent component analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging time course. (B) Correlation between log-transformed delay discounting rate (lnk) and network activation. Individual contrast values for LL versus control trials (positive value indicates greater activity for LL versus control; negative value indicates less activity for LL versus control) are on the y axis; individual values of lnk are on the x axis.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Cognitive control/executive function network: smaller, sooner (SS) choice trials versus control trials. Note: (A) Network map. A second network of coactivated brain regions as determined from group independent component analysis of functional neuroimaging time courses. (B) Correlation between log-transformed delay discounting rate (lnk) and network activation. Individual contrast values for SS versus control trials (positive value indicates greater activity for SS versus control; negative value indicates less activity for SS versus control) are on the y axis; individual values of lnk are on the x axis.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Correlation between valuation and cognitive control networks. Note: Individuals’ mean brain activity for the cognitive control network (x-axis) plotted against mean brain activity for the valuation network (y-axis) for all decision making trials (irrespective of choice) versus control trials.

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