Methamphetamine (MA) is associated with behavioral and cognitive deficits that may be related to macrostructural abnormalities. Quantitative anatomical comparisons between controls and methamphetamine-dependent individuals have produced conflicting results. We examined local and global differences in brain structure in 61 abstinent methamphetamine-dependent individuals and 44 controls with voxel-based morphometry and tissue segmentation. We related regional differences in gray matter density and whole brain segmentation volumes to performance on a behavioral measure of impulsivity and group membership using multiple linear regression. Within the MA group, we related cortical and subcortical gray matter density to length of abstinence. Controls had greater density relative to MA in bilateral insula and left middle frontal gyrus. Impulsivity was higher in the MA group and, within all subjects, impulsivity was positively correlated with gray matter density in posterior cingulate cortex and ventral striatum and negatively correlated in left superior frontal gyrus. Length of abstinence from MA was associated with greater amygdalar density. Earlier age of first use of MA (in subjects who initiated use before age 21) was associated with smaller intracranial volume. The findings are consistent with multiple possible mechanisms including neuroadaptations due to addictive behavior, neuroinflammation as well as dopaminergic and serotonergic neurotoxicity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience