Individual Differences in Anterior Cingulate Activation Associated with Attentional Bias Predict Cocaine Use After Treatment

Reshmi Marhe, Maartje Luijten, BJM Wetering, Marion Smits, Ingmar Franken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Drug-dependent patients often relapse into drug use after treatment. Behavioral studies show that enhanced attentional bias to drug cues is a precursor of relapse. The present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study examined whether brain regions involved in attentional bias are predictive of cocaine use after treatment. Attentional bias-related brain activity was measured-with a cocaine Stroop task-in cocaine-dependent patients during their first week in detoxification treatment and was used to predict cocaine use at 3-month follow-up. The predictive value of attentional bias-related brain activity in a priori defined regions of interest, in addition to other measures such as self-reports of substance severity, craving, and behavioral attentional bias were examined. The results show that craving in the week before treatment and individual variability in attentional bias-related activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) were significant predictors of days of cocaine use at 3-month follow-up and accounted for 45% in explained variance. Brain activity in the dACC uniquely contributed 22% of explained variance to the prediction model. These findings suggest that hyperactive attentional biasrelated brain activity in the dACC might be a biomarker of relapse vulnerability as early as in the first week of detoxification treatment. Ultimately, this may help to develop individually tailored treatment interventions to reduce relapse risk. Neuropsychopharmacology (2013) 38, 1085-1093; doi:10.1038/npp.2013.7; published online 30 January 2013
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1093
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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