Increased “default mode” activity in adolescents prenatally exposed to cocaine

Authors

  • Zhihao Li,

    1. Biomedical Imaging Technology Center, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta 30322, Georgia
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  • Priya Santhanam,

    1. Biomedical Imaging Technology Center, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta 30322, Georgia
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  • Claire D. Coles,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta 30322, Georgia
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  • Mary Ellen Lynch,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta 30322, Georgia
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  • Stephan Hamann,

    1. Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta 30322, Georgia
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  • Scott Peltier,

    1. Biomedical Imaging Technology Center, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta 30322, Georgia
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  • Xiaoping Hu

    Corresponding author
    1. Biomedical Imaging Technology Center, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta 30322, Georgia
    • Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Woodruff Memorial Building, 101 Woodruff Circle, Suite 2001, Atlanta 30322, Georgia
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Abstract

Prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) is associated with attention/arousal dysregulation and possible inefficiencies in some cognitive functions. However, the neurobiological bases of these teratogenic effects have not been well characterized. Because activities in the default mode network (DMN) reflect intrinsic brain functions that are closely associated with arousal regulation and cognition, alterations in the DMN could underlie cognitive effects related to PCE. With resting-state and task activation functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), this study investigated the possible PCE related changes in functional brain connectivity and brain activation in the DMN. In the resting state, the PCE group was found to have stronger functional connectivity in the DMN, as compared to the nonexposed controls. During a working memory task with emotional distracters, the PCE group exhibited less deactivation in the DMN and their fMRI signal was more increased by emotional arousal. These data revealed additional neural effects related to PCE, and consistent with previous findings, indicate that PCE may affect behavior and functioning by increasing baseline arousal and altering the excitatory/inhibitory balancing mechanisms involved in cognitive resource allocation. Hum Brain Mapp, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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