Methamphetamine abuse could make you stupid
The abuse of the recreational drug methamphetamine decreases the thickness of gray matter in the frontal cortex of young users, the area of the brain believed to direct people’s ability to organize, reason and remember things. according to a study.
Researchers have found that teens who chronically use methamphetamine have larger and more extensive brain damage than adults.
The damage is particularly evident in a part of the brain believed to control “executive function,” the findings show.
“It is particularly unfortunate that methamphetamine appears to damage this part of the brain, which is still developing in young people and is essential for cognitive abilities,” said In Kyoon Lyoo of Ewha W. University in Seoul, South Korea. .
For the study, the researchers scanned the brains of 111 South Korean adolescents and 114 adults.
Brain scans showed that the gray and white matter of chronic adult methamphetamine users showed much less damage than that of adolescents.
Researchers found the evidence of cortical thickness damage in the frontal cortex of adolescent users alarming.
“Damage to this part of the brain is particularly problematic because the ability of adolescents to control risky behavior is less mature than that of adults,” Lyoo said.
The results also indicate that it may take significantly less methamphetamine to cause greater damage to adolescent brains, as young people typically use smaller amounts of the drug than adults.
Methamphetamine is one of the most widely used drugs in Asia.
The study appeared online in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.