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Meth Abuse May Cause Functional Abnormalities in the Brain

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Updated June 04, 2014

New research findings indicate that methamphetamine abuse may result in functional changes in the brain that are similar to those seen in people with degenerative brain diseases.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, have found more evidence that methamphetamine abuse may cause alterations in the brain. The researchers used a highly sensitive technique called quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) to assess electrical activity in the brain, or “brainwaves,” of recently abstinent methamphetamine abusers and nonusers. Excess amounts of slow brainwaves—delta and theta—have been associated with head injuries and memory problems.

For the study, Dr. Thomas Newton and colleagues recruited methamphetamine users who reported using at least one-half gram of the drug per week for the previous 6 months. After four days of methamphetamine abstinence, the researchers obtained QEEG recordings of the users’ brains. The scientists also obtained QEEG recordings from healthy nonusers. The researchers found that methamphetamine users had increased delta and theta brainwave activity compared to nonusers.

This study, funded by NIDA, was published in the March 2003 issue of the journal, Clinical Neurophysiology.

More: More About Meth | Methamphetamine FAQs

Source: NIDA NewsScan

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