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Neuromarkers in addiction: definitions, development strategies, and recent advances.

Substance use disorders (SUDs) are the most costly and prevalent psychiatric conditions. Recent calls emphasize a need for biomarkers-measurable, stable indicators of normal and abnormal processes and response to treatment or environmental agents-and, in particular, brain-based neuromarkers that will advance understanding of the neurobiological basis of SUDs and clinical practice. To develop neuromarkers, researchers must be grounded in evidence that a putative marker (i) is sensitive and specific to the psychological phenomenon of interest, (ii) constitutes a predictive model, and (iii) generalizes to novel observations (e.g., through internal cross-validation and external application to novel data). These neuromarkers may be used to index risk of developing SUDs (susceptibility), classify individuals with SUDs (diagnostic), assess risk for progression to more severe pathology (prognostic) or index current severity of pathology (monitoring), detect response to treatment (response), and predict individualized treatment outcomes (predictive). Here, we outline guidelines for developing and assessing neuromarkers, we then review recent advances toward neuromarkers in addiction neuroscience centering our discussion around neuromarkers of craving-a core feature of SUDs. In doing so, we specifically focus on the Neurobiological Craving Signature (NCS), which show great promise for meeting the demand of neuromarkers.

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