Hui-Jin Song1, Jeehye Seo1, Seong-Uk Jin1, Moon-Jung Hwang2, Young-Ju Lee2, Yongmin Chang1,3
1Medical & Biological Engineering, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea, Republic of; 2GE healthcare, Seoul, Korea, Republic of; 3Diagnostic Radiology, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea, Republic of
Methamphetamine (MA) abusers often exhibit socially problematic behaviors such as diminished empathy, decreased emotional regulation, and interpersonal violence, which may be attributable to alterations in emotional perception. However, few studies have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to directly examine perceptual processing of threatening or fearful non-face images in methamphetamine abusers. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the difference in neural correlates of negative emotion processing between MA abusers and healthy subjects using a small subset of complex visual scenes depicting fear or threat, derived from IAPS. Based on our finding that MA abusers showed reduced activation in both insula and increased activation in FG, PG, and PCC relative to MA abusers. Hypoactivation of the insula in MA abusers relative to healthy subjects suggests that the ability of emotional awareness to threatening scenes and empathy for anothers pain could be compromised in MA abusers. Hyperactivity in the FG, PG, and PCC in MA abusers relative to healthy subjects indicates that threatening and fearful images from the IAPS may remind MA abusers of episodic memory related to antisocial behaviors towards others. Therefore, functional impairment of these neural networks in MA abuse may contribute to altered perception of fearful scene, which could lead to diminish empathy and increase risk to aggressive behavior.