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Keywords:

  • Abstinence;
  • Alcohol;
  • Functional Magnetic Resonance;
  • Functional Connectivity;
  • Resting-State Networks

Background

We previously reported that when compared with controls, long-term abstinent alcoholics (LTAA) have increased resting-state synchrony (RSS) of the inhibitory control network and reduced synchrony of the appetitive drive network, and hypothesized that these levels of synchrony are adaptive and support the behavioral changes required to maintain abstinence. In this study, we investigate whether these RSS patterns can be identified in short-term abstinent alcoholics (STAA).

Methods

Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected from 27 STAA, 23 LTAA, and 23 nonsubstance abusing controls (NSAC). We examined baseline RSS using seed-based measures.

Results

We found ordered RSS effects from NSAC to STAA and then to LTAA within both the appetitive drive and executive control networks: increasing RSS of the executive control network and decreasing RSS of the reward processing network. Finally, we found significant correlations between strength of RSS in these networks and (i) cognitive flexibility, and (ii) current antisocial behavior.

Conclusions

Findings are consistent with an adaptive progression of RSS from short- to long-term abstinence, so that, compared with normal controls, the synchrony (i) within the reward network progressively decreases, and (ii) within the executive control network progressively increases.