Assessment of abstract reasoning abilities in alcohol-dependent subjects: an fMRI study
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Chronic alcohol abuse has been traditionally associated with impaired cognitive abilities. The deficits are most evident in higher order cognitive functions, such as abstract reasoning, problem solving and visuospatial processing. The present study sought to increase current understanding of the neuropsychological basis of poor abstract reasoning abilities in alcohol-dependent subjects using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
An abstract reasoning task-based fMRI study was carried out on alcohol-dependent subjects (n = 18) and healthy controls (n = 18) to examine neural activation pattern. The study was carried out using a 3-T whole-body magnetic resonance scanner. Preprocessing and post processing was performed using SPM 8 software.
Behavioral data indicated that alcohol-dependent subjects took more time than controls for performing the task but there was no significant difference in their response accuracy. Analysis of the fMRI data indicated that for solving abstract reasoning-based problems, alcohol-dependent subjects showed enhanced right frontoparietal neural activation involving inferior frontal gyrus, post central gyrus, superior parietal lobule, and occipito-temporal gyrus.
The extensive activation observed in alcohol dependents as compared to controls suggests that alcohol dependents recruit additional brain areas to meet the behavioral demands for equivalent task performance. The results are consistent with previous fMRI studies suggesting decreased neural efficiency of relevant brain networks or compensatory mechanisms for the execution of task for showing an equivalent performance.
KeywordsAlcoholism fMRI Abstract reasoning Brain Functional
The authors are grateful for the financial support from DRDO under project INM-311 (4.1), Ministry of Defense and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India.
Conflict of interest
We declare that we have no conflict of interest.
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