Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor - Med Center Line, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


2017-18 Courses


All Publications

  • Effects of abstinence and chronic cigarette smoking on white matter microstructure in alcohol dependence: Diffusion tensor imaging at 4T. Drug and alcohol dependence Zou, Y., Murray, D. E., Durazzo, T. C., Schmidt, T. P., Murray, T. A., Meyerhoff, D. J. 2017; 175: 42-50


    We previously reported widespread microstructural deficits of brain white matter in alcohol-dependent individuals (ALC) compared to light drinkers in a small 1.5T diffusion tensor imaging study employing tract-based spatial statistics. Using a larger dataset acquired at 4T, the present study is an extension that investigated the effects of alcohol consumption, abstinence from alcohol, and comorbid cigarette smoking on white matter microstructure.Tract-based spatial statistics were performed on 20 1-week-abstinent ALC, 52 1-month-abstinent ALC, and 30 controls. Regional measures of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) in the significant clusters were compared by Analysis of Covariance. The metrics were correlated with substance use history and behavioral measures.1-week-abstinent ALC showed lower FA than controls in the corpus callosum, right cingulum, external capsule, and hippocampus. At 1 month of abstinence, only the FA in the body of the corpus callosum of ALC remained significantly different from controls. Some regional FA deficits correlated with more severe measures of drinking and smoking histories but only weakly with mood and impulsivity measures.White matter microstructure is abnormal during early abstinence in alcohol dependent treatment seekers and recovers into the normal range within about four weeks. The compromised white matter was related to substance use severity, mood, and impulsivity. Our findings suggest that ALC may benefit from interventions that facilitate normalization of DTI metrics to maintain abstinence, via smoking cessation, cognitive-based therapy, and perhaps pharmacology to support remyelination.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.01.032

    View details for PubMedID 28384535

  • Neurocognition and inhibitory control in polysubstance use disorders: Comparison with alcohol use disorders and changes with abstinence JOURNAL OF CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGY Schmidt, T. P., Pennington, D. L., Cardoos, S. L., Durazzo, T. C., Meyerhoff, D. J. 2017; 39 (1): 22-34
  • Psychiatric, Demographic, and Brain Morphological Predictors of Relapse After Treatment for an Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research Durazzo, T. C., Meyerhoff, D. J. 2017; 41 (1): 107-116


    Relapse in alcohol use disorders (AUD) is related to a complex interplay among multiple biological, psychiatric, psychological, and psychosocial factors, which may change dynamically during and after treatment. At treatment entry for AUD, morphological abnormalities in anterior frontal regions and the insula have been observed in those who ultimately relapse following treatment. The goal of this study was to determine whether anterior frontal and insula measures of brain thickness, surface area, and volume predict posttreatment drinking status (i.e., relapser or abstainer) over an extended period after outpatient treatment for AUD, while concurrently considering common psychiatric, psychological, and psychosocial factors previously associated with relapse.Alcohol-dependent individuals (n = 129) were followed for 18 months after treatment to determine posttreatment drinking status (abstainers [n = 47] or relapsers [n = 82]). Brain morphometrics were derived from FreeSurfer. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to identify the regional brain thickness, surface area, and volume (all scaled to intracranial volume), demographic, psychiatric, other substance use (e.g., cigarette smoking), and alcohol consumption variables, obtained at entry into treatment, that best predicted posttreatment drinking status. Survival analyses determined variables that were related to duration of abstinence after treatment.ROC analyses indicated that mood disorders, education, and volumes of the right caudal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), right rostral ACC, and total right frontal gray matter were significant predictors of posttreatment drinking status. Among relapsers, survival analyses showed smokers and individuals with a comorbid medical condition relapsed earlier after treatment. Additionally, a greater frequency of smokers relapsed within 6 months of AUD treatment.Results reinforce that relapse in AUD is a function of multiple biological, psychiatric, psychological, and psychosocial factors. Effective treatment of depressive disorders and cigarette smoking concurrent with AUD-focused interventions may promote better treatment outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/acer.13267

    View details for PubMedID 27883214

  • Neurocognition and inhibitory control in polysubstance use disorders: Comparison with alcohol use disorders and changes with abstinence. Journal of clinical and experimental neuropsychology Schmidt, T. P., Pennington, D. L., Cardoos, S. L., Durazzo, T. C., Meyerhoff, D. J. 2016: 1-13


    Intact neurocognition and early cognitive recovery during abstinence are important for substance use treatment outcome. Yet, little is known about them in the largest group of treatment seekers today, individuals with polysubstance use disorders (PSU). This study primarily contrasted PSU and individuals with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) on neurocognitive and inhibitory control measures and, secondarily, measured changes during abstinence in PSU.At one month of abstinence from all substances except tobacco, 36 PSU and 69 AUD completed neurocognitive assessments of executive function, general intelligence, auditory-verbal learning/memory, visuospatial learning/memory/skills, processing speed, working memory, fine motor skills, and cognitive efficiency. The groups were also assessed on inhibitory control measures of self-reported impulsivity, risk-taking, and decision-making. Seventeen PSU repeated the assessments after approximately four months of abstinence. All cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses included smoking status as a possible confound.At baseline, PSU performed significantly worse than AUD on auditory-verbal memory and on an inhibitory control measure of impulsivity. Polysubstance users showed trends to worse performance than AUD on general intelligence, auditory-verbal learning, and a decision-making task. Between one and four months of abstinence, PSU showed significant improvements on several neurocognitive and inhibitory control measures.Polysubstance users exhibit distinct differences in neurocognition and inhibitory control compared to AUD. Between one and four months of abstinence, neurocognition and inhibitory control improve in PSU. This neurocognitive recovery in some domains of abstinent PSU is influenced by smoking status. These results underscore the clinical value of select methods to augment neurocognitive recovery in PSU through appropriate interventions.

    View details for PubMedID 27690739

  • Frontal Metabolite Concentration Deficits in Opiate Dependence Relate to Substance Use, Cognition, and Self-Regulation. Journal of addiction research & therapy Murray, D. E., Durazzo, T. C., Schmidt, T. P., Abé, C., Guydish, J., Meyerhoff, D. J. 2016; 7 (4)


    Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) in opiate dependence showed abnormalities in neuronal viability and glutamate concentration in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Metabolite levels in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) or orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and their neuropsychological correlates have not been investigated in opiate dependence.Single-volume proton MRS at 4 Tesla and neuropsychological testing were conducted in 21 opiate-dependent individuals (OD) on buprenorphine maintenance therapy. Results were compared to 28 controls (CON) and 35 alcohol-dependent individuals (ALC), commonly investigated treatment-seekers providing context for OD evaluation. Metabolite concentrations were measured from ACC, DLPFC, OFC and parieto-occipital cortical (POC) regions.Compared to CON, OD had lower concentrations of N-acetylaspartate (NAA), glutamate (Glu), creatine +phosphocreatine (Cr) and myo-Inositol (mI) in the DLPFC and lower NAA, Cr, and mI in the ACC. OD, ALC, and CON were equivalent on metabolite levels in the POC and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) concentration did not differ between groups in any region. In OD, prefrontal metabolite deficits in ACC Glu as well as DLPFC NAA and choline containing metabolites (Cho) correlated with poorer working memory, executive and visuospatial functioning; metabolite deficits in DLPFC Glu and ACC GABA and Cr correlated with substance use measures. In the OFC of OD, Glu and choline-containing metabolites were elevated and lower Cr concentration related to higher nonplanning impulsivity. Compared to 3 week abstinent ALC, OD had significant DLPFC metabolite deficits.The anterior frontal metabolite profile of OD differed significantly from that of CON and ALC. The frontal lobe metabolite abnormalities in OD and their neuropsychological correlates may play a role in treatment outcome and could be explored as specific targets for improved OD treatment.

    View details for PubMedID 27695638

  • Active Cigarette Smoking in Cognitively-Normal Elders and Probable Alzheimer's Disease is Associated with Elevated Cerebrospinal Fluid Oxidative Stress Biomarkers. Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD Durazzo, T. C., Korecka, M., Trojanowski, J. Q., Weiner, M. W., O' Hara, R., Ashford, J. W., Shaw, L. M. 2016; 54 (1): 99-107


    Neurodegenerative diseases and chronic cigarette smoking are associated with increased cerebral oxidative stress (OxS). Elevated F2-isoprostane levels in biological fluid is a recognized marker of OxS. This study assessed the association of active cigarette smoking with F2-isoprostane in concentrations in cognitively-normal elders (CN), and those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and probable Alzheimer's disease (AD). Smoking and non-smoking CN (n = 83), MCI (n = 164), and probable AD (n = 101) were compared on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) iPF2α-III and 8,12, iso-iPF2α-VI F2-isoprostane concentrations. Associations between F2-isoprostane levels and hippocampal volumes were also evaluated. In CN and AD, smokers had higher iPF2α-III concentration; overall, smoking AD showed the highest iPF2α-III concentration across groups. Smoking and non-smoking MCI did not differ on iPF2α-III concentration. No group differences were apparent on 8,12, iso-iPF2α-VI concentration, but across AD, higher 8,12, iso-iPF2α-VI level was related to smaller left and total hippocampal volumes. Results indicate that active cigarette smoking in CN and probable AD is associated with increased central nervous system OxS. Further investigation of factors mediating/moderating the absence of smoking effects on CSF F2-isoprostane levels in MCI is warranted. In AD, increasing magnitude of OxS appeared to be related to smaller hippocampal volume. This study contributes additional novel information to the mounting body of evidence that cigarette smoking is associated with adverse effects on the human central nervous system across the lifespan.

    View details for DOI 10.3233/JAD-160413

    View details for PubMedID 27472882

  • Regional brain volume changes in alcohol-dependent individuals during early abstinence: associations with relapse following treatment. Addiction biology Durazzo, T. C., Mon, A., Gazdzinski, S., Meyerhoff, D. J. 2016


    Cross-sectional structural magnetic resonance (MR) imaging studies of individuals with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) report that those who relapse after treatment, relative to individuals who maintain a period of extended abstinence, show greater morphological abnormalities in multiple brain regions near the inception of treatment, particularly in the frontal lobe. However, given the cross-sectional design of previous studies, it is unclear if the baseline morphological differences between future abstainers and relapsers were maintained over the course of early recovery. The primary goal of this study was to determine if frontal lobe tissue volume recovery during early abstinence is associated with long-term abstinence from alcohol. We compared frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital grey matter (GM) and white matter (WM) volumes, at 1 and 4 weeks of abstinence, among individuals who resumed alcohol consumption within 12 months of treatment (Relapsers) and those who showed sustained abstinence over 12 months following treatment (Abstainers). At 1 and 4 weeks of sobriety, both Abstainers and Relapsers demonstrated significantly smaller GM volumes than Controls in the majority of ROIs, but Relapsers exhibited significantly smaller bilateral frontal GM volumes than Abstainers. No significant group differences were observed for any WM region of interest. The persistent bilateral frontal GM volume deficits in Relapsers over 4 weeks from last alcohol use may represent an endophenotype that differentiates those who respond more favorably to the typical psychosocial and pharmacological interventions provided for AUD.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/adb.12420

    View details for PubMedID 27329647

  • Active Cigarette Smoking in Cognitively-Normal Elders and Probable Alzheimer's Disease is Associated with Elevated Cerebrospinal Fluid Oxidative Stress Biomarkers JOURNAL OF ALZHEIMERS DISEASE Durazzo, T. C., Korecka, M., Trojanowski, J. Q., Weiner, M. W., Hara, R. O., Ashford, J. W., Shaw, L. M. 2016; 54 (1): 99-107

    View details for DOI 10.3233/JAD-160413

    View details for Web of Science ID 000383838400009