MAR 17, 2016 09:00 AM PDT

Featured Speaker - The neurobiology underlying drug addiction: lessons from multimodality imaging and neuropsychological studies in humans

Presented At Neuroscience
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  • Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Friedman Brain Institute, Chief, Brain Imaging Center, Chief, NARC Research Program, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
      Dr. Goldstein is a Professor of Psychiatry with a secondary appointment in the Department of Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) in NY. Dr. Goldstein is chief of the Brain Imaging Center (BIC) at ISMMS; she also directs the NARC (Neuropsychoimaging of Addiction and Related Conditions) research group that uses multimodality functional neuroimaging methods to explore the neurobiological basis of impaired cognitive and emotional functioning in human drug addiction and other disorders of self-control. An important application of this research is to facilitate the development of intervention modalities that would improve treatment outcome in drug addiction and other chronically relapsing disorders of self-regulation.

      Nationally and internationally known for her neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies in drug addiction, Dr. Goldstein formulated a theoretical model known as Impaired Response Inhibition and Salience Attribution (iRISA). The model uses multiple neuroimaging modalities-including MRI, EEG/ERP, PET and neuropsychological tests-to explore the neurobiological underpinnings of iRISA in drug addiction and related conditions.

      Dr. Goldstein became fellow of the ACNP in January 2015, receiving the prestigious Joel Elkes Research Award in 2012 and the Jacob P. Waletzky Award in 2013.

      As BIC chief Dr. Goldstein is striving to facilitate optimized research use of ISMMS's state-of-the-art brain imaging facilities at the Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute (TMII). Adopting a translational (3T, 7T, PET/MR; human and non-human imaging), developmental and cross-generational approach, BIC has been developing a standardized processing pipelines to acquire, analyze and manage a comprehensive set of brain scans across a myriad of neuropsychiatric disorders with the goal of accelerating the development of large-scale gene-brain-behavior datasets essential for revolutionizing our understanding of the brain.


    Drug addiction is a chronically relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug use despite catastrophic personal consequences (e.g., loss of family, job) and even when the substance is no longer perceived as pleasurable. In this talk, Dr. Goldstein will present results of human neuroimaging studies, utilizing a multimodal approach (neuropsychology, functional magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, event-related potentials recordings), to explore the neurobiology underlying the core psychological impairments in drug addiction (impulsivity, drive/motivation, insight/awareness) as associated with its clinical symptomatology (intoxication, craving, bingeing, withdrawal). The focus of this talk is on understanding the role of the dopaminergic mesocorticolimbic circuit, and especially the prefrontal cortex, in higher-order executive dysfunction (e.g., disadvantageous decision-making such as trading a car for a couple of cocaine hits) in drug addicted individuals. The theoretical model that guides the presented research is called iRISA (Impaired Response Inhibition and Salience Attribution), postulating that abnormalities in the orbitofrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex, as related to dopaminergic dysfunction, contribute to the core clinical symptoms in drug addiction. Specifically, Dr. Goldstein’s multi-modality program of research is guided by the underlying working hypothesis that drug addicted individuals disproportionately attribute reward value to their drug of choice at the expense of other potentially but no-longer-rewarding stimuli, with a concomitant decrease in the ability to inhibit maladaptive drug use. In this talk Dr. Goldstein will also explore whether treatment (as usual) and 6-month abstinence enhance recovery in these brain-behavior compromises in treatment seeking cocaine addicted individuals. Promising novel fMRI studies, which combine pharmacological (i.e., oral methylphenidate, or RitalinTM) and salient cognitive tasks or functional connectivity during resting-state, will be discussed as examples for using neuroimaging in the empirical guidance for the development of effective neurorehabilitation strategies in cocaine addiction.

    Learning objectives:

    1. Identify the core neuropsychological mechanisms underlying the clinical symptomatology of drug addiction
    2. Recognize the contribution of compromises in brain function and structure to human cocaine addiction; assess potential recovery with abstinence and other interventions.
    3. Recognize the importance of impairments in response inhibition, salience attribution, and self-awareness/insight into illness in drug addiction


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