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Differential brain responses for perception of pain during empathic response in binge drinkers compared to non-binge drinkers

Abstract : Individuals who engage in binge drinking behaviors may show evidence of impaired cognitive function and emotional dysregulation. Impaired empathy, characterized by a reduced ability to understand and respond appropriately to feelings of others, is increasingly recognized for its role in Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD). The present study examined a population of young adult social drinkers to compare individuals who show binge drinking behavior to those who do not on measures of empathic processing and associated neural responses. A secondary aim explored similarities and differences between binge drinkers living in the UK and France. Alcohol drinking history and impulsivity ratings were recorded from seventy-one participants [(37 UK (Binge drinkers N = 19); 34 France (Binge drinkers N = 17)], who then underwent a neuroimaging study. During functional magnetic resonance imaging, participants viewed images of bodily pain (vs. no-pain), while adopting the perspective of self (pain recipient) or other (observer of someone else experiencing pain). Anterior midcingulate cortex (aMCC) and insula activation distinguished pain from no-pain conditions. Binge drinkers showed stronger regional neural activation than non-binge drinkers within a cluster spanning fusiform gyrus and inferior temporal gyrus, encompassing the Fusiform Body Area. Binge drinkers compared to non-binge drinkers also took longer to respond when viewing pictures depicting pain, in particular when adopting the perspective of self. Relationships between changes in brain activation and behavioural responses in pain versus no pain conditions (self or other perspective) indicated that whereas non-binge drinkers engage areas supporting self to other distinction, binge drinkers do not. Our findings suggest that alcohol binge drinking is associated with different empathy-related behavioral and brain responses, consistent with the proposed importance of empathy in the development of AUD.
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Submitted on : Saturday, August 15, 2020 - 8:41:29 PM
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Charlotte L Rae, Fabien Gierski, Kathleen W Smith, Kyriaki Nikolaou, Amy Davies, et al.. Differential brain responses for perception of pain during empathic response in binge drinkers compared to non-binge drinkers. Neuroimage-Clinical, Elsevier, 2020, 27, pp.102322. ⟨10.1016/j.nicl.2020.102322⟩. ⟨inserm-02915739⟩



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