3. A Methodological Checklist for fMRI Cue Reactivity Studies in Addictions: Development and Expert Consensus
While there have been promising results elucidating the neurocognitive mechanisms of SUDs and SUD treatments in fMRI drug cue reactivity (FDCR) experiments, the interpretability and reproducibility of these studies is limited by incomplete reporting of methodological details which hampers clinical translation. This Delphi study aims to outline the important methodological aspects of FDCR research, present recommendations for more comprehensive methods reporting, and review the FDCR literature to assess the reporting of items that are deemed important.
Fifty-five FDCR scientists participated in this study. An initial checklist of important items in FDCR studies was developed by several members of the ACRI international working group based on a systematic review. Using a modified Delphi consensus method, experts reviewed and rated the importance of each item in subsequent rounds. The reporting status of final items was investigated in 108 recently published FDCR studies identified through a systematic review.
Thirty-eight items reached the consensus threshold and were classified under 7 categories: 'Participant Characteristics', 'General fMRI Information', 'General Task Information', 'Cue Information', 'Craving Assessment Inside Scanner', 'Craving Assessment Outside Scanner' and 'Pre- and Post- Scanning Considerations'. The review of the 108 FDCR papers revealed significant gaps in the final reporting items.
Considering the notable gaps in the reporting of the final items, the protocols could benefit from the adoption of reporting standards. This living document which will be updated as the field advance, can help improve experimental design, reporting, and the understanding of the FDCR protocols along with providing a sample for developing consensus statements for protocols in other areas of taskbased fMRI.