Indexed on: 21 May '13Published on: 21 May '13Published in: NeuroImage
Methylphenidate is a psychostimulant medication that produces improvements in functions associated with multiple neurocognitive systems. To investigate the potentially distributed effects of methylphenidate on the brain's intrinsic network architecture, we coupled resting state imaging with multivariate pattern classification. In a within-subject, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, counterbalanced, cross-over design, 32 healthy human volunteers received either methylphenidate or placebo prior to two fMRI resting state scans separated by approximately one week. Resting state connectomes were generated by placing regions of interest at regular intervals throughout the brain, and these connectomes were submitted for support vector machine analysis. We found that methylphenidate produces a distributed, reliably detected, multivariate neural signature. Methylphenidate effects were evident across multiple resting state networks, especially visual, somatomotor, and default networks. Methylphenidate reduced coupling within visual and somatomotor networks. In addition, default network exhibited decoupling with several task positive networks, consistent with methylphenidate modulation of the competitive relationship between these networks. These results suggest that connectivity changes within and between large-scale networks are potentially involved in the mechanisms by which methylphenidate improves attention functioning.