abuse damages the brain, study finds
By Michael Lewis
Franklin Press Staff writer
August 03, 2004
this brain scan of a meth abuser, areas in red show
the highest damage, with the blue shades showing
the least. Source: Dr. Paul Thompson, UCLA
Not only is it eating up Macon county - it's eating away
the brains of its users. A recent study from the University
of California at Los Angeles shows that methamphetamine
abusers had 11 percent less gray matter than the average
The study, written by Dr. Paul Thompson
and his UCLA colleagues, used Magnetic Resonance Imaging
(MRI) scans to map the deteriorated brain tissue in meth
Methamphetamine's grip on the globe is far reaching. In
this brain scan of a meth abuser, areas in red show the
highest damage, with the blue shades showing the least.
Source: Dr. Paul Thompson, UCLA. According to worldwide
2003 United Nations studies, over 35 million people use
amphetamines - meth included. That's far more than the
15 million snorting cocaine, and the 10 million shooting
up heroin. Macon County has heard the footsteps of meth
addiction, but the onslaught of court cases involving
the drug show that meth dependence is on its way to reaching
epidemic proportions. Law enforcement and public health
are waging war to treat abusers and bring meth makers
to justice - but the battle still rages. In the UCLA study,
22 subjects who had used or abused meth were compared
with 21 healthy, aged-matched control subjects. The results
were startling. According to the report, a significant
loss of gray matter was present in the meth users studied.
The hippocampus, directly involved with memory and retention,
was also smaller - 7 percent smaller than those of the
Brain damage from chronic meth abuse is comparable to
or greater than the gray matter deficits found in patients
with dementia or schizophrenia.
Still think meth or other drugs enable you to think creatively?
Think again. Meth abusers often perform poorly on tests
of verbal memory skills, and score lower on tests measuring
problem solving, abstract thinking and motor skills. Not
that the public needed any further evidence that meth
is poisonous, but the study suggests methamphetamines
may be highly neurotoxic to brain tissues that are linked
to memory and recall.
The UCLA study is one of the first of its kind, so it's
not yet clear whether the damage is progressive, or if
the effects can be treated.
There's no evidence so far showing reversal of the damage
after quitting meth.
Original source: http://www.thefranklinpress.com