Acute alcohol intoxication modulates the temporal dynamics of resting electroencephalography networks.
This study aimed to provide a currently missing link between general intoxication-induced changes in overall brain activity and the multiple cognitive control deficits typically observed during acute alcohol intoxication. For that purpose, we analyzed the effects of acute alcohol intoxication (1.1‰) on the four archetypal electroencephalography (EEG) resting networks (i.e., microstates A-D) and their temporal dynamics (e.g., coverage and transitions from one microstate to another), as well as on self-reported resting-state cognition in n = 22 healthy young males using a counterbalanced within-subject design. Our microstate analyses indicated that alcohol increased the coverage of the visual processing-related microstate B at the expense of the autonomic processing-related microstate C. Add-on exploratory analyses revealed that alcohol increased transitions from microstate C to microstate B and decreased bidirectional transitions between microstate C and the attention-related microstate D. In line with the observed alcohol-induced decrease of the autonomic processing-related microstate C, participants reported decreases of their somatic awareness during intoxication, which were positively associated with more transitions from microstate C to microstate B. In sum, the observed effects provide mechanistic insights into how alcohol might hamper cognitive processing by generally prioritizing the bottom-up processing of visual stimuli over top-down internal information processing. The fact that this was found during the resting state further proves that alcohol-induced changes in brain activity are continuously present and do not only emerge during demanding situations or tasks.© 2021 The Authors. Addiction Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society for the Study of Addiction.