Resting-State Neuroimaging and Neuropsychological Findings in Opioid Use Disorder during Abstinence: A Review.

Front Hum Neurosci. 2017 Apr 6;11:169. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00169. eCollection 2017.

Resting-State Neuroimaging and Neuropsychological Findings in Opioid Use Disorder during Abstinence: A Review.


Dependence to opiates, including illicit heroin and prescription pain killers, and treatment of the opioid use disorder (OUD) have been longstanding problems over the world. Despite intense efforts to scientific investigation and public health care, treatment outcomes have not significantly improved for the past 50 years. One reason behind the continuing use of heroin worldwide despite such efforts is its highly addictive nature. Brain imaging studies over the past two decades have made significant contribution to the understanding of the addictive properties as to be due in part to biological processes, specifically those in the brain structure and function. Moreover, traditional clinical neuropsychology studies also contribute to the account in part for the treatment-refractory nature of the drug abuse. However, there is a gap between those studies, and the rates of relapse are still high. Thus, a multidisciplinary approach is needed to understand the fundamental neural mechanism of OUD. How does the brain of an OUD patient functionally and cognitively differ from others? This brief review is to compare and contrast the current literature on non-invasive resting state neuroimaging and clinical neuropsychological studies with the focus on the abstinence stage in OUD. The results show as follow: Brain connectivity strength in the reward system, dysregulation of circuits associated with emotion and stress, enhanced beta and alpha power activity, and high impulsivity are induced by OUD.Some recovery signs in cognition are demonstrated in OUD subjects after prolonged abstinence, but not in the subjects undergoing methadone treatment.Normalization in the composition of brain oscillations especially in the temporal region is induced and restored by methadone treatment in roughly 6 months in mean duration for OUDs having a mean opioid-use history of 10 years. We hope that the review provides valuable implications for clinical research and practice and paves a new insight into the future path to the identification of potential biomarkers and clinical outcome predictors in OUD in the domains of brain regions, functions, and behaviors.


addiction; cognition; electroencephalography; functional magnetic resonance imaging; heroin; neuropsychological tests; opioid; resting-state functional connectivity


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