Long-term impact of drug use - Brain damage
Sydney: A new research on ecstasy, ice and speed users in Australia has uncovered tell-tale signs of brain damage.
The study adds to concerns over the long-term impact of drug use.
As part of the study, doctors at Royal Perth Hospital scanned the brains of 30 patients who were treated in the emergency department for problems related to their amphetamine use.
A majority reported having concentration and mood problems, while half admitted to suffering memory problems when not high.
Six patients showed signs of brain damage, often an "unidentified bright object" on their scan, which indicated a point of damage usually in their brain`s frontal lobe.
"Abnormalities on brain MRI scans were identified in six patients, most commonly an unidentified bright object (UBO)," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Daniel Fatovich, from the hospital`s Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine.
"... While the significance of this is uncertain it is congruent with evidence that amphetamines cause brain injury, and therefore could have public health implications," he said.
The patients were mostly men and had a history of ice, speed or ecstasy use that spanned several years.
The research indicated one in five had suffered a likely drug-related brain injury.
Prof Fatovich said the finding added to "emerging evidence of serious long-term effects of amphetamine use, including depression, anxiety, psychosis and memory disturbance".
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