The effects of methamphetamine exposure during brain development on cognition and markers of cognitive function

Jessica A. Siegel, Jacob Raber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Methamphetamine (MA) use among pregnant women is concerning as exposure to MA during brain development increases the risk of short-and long-term detrimental effects, including being born small for gestational age and the risk of being born with birth defects. MA exposure is also associated with increased physiological stress, decreased arousal, and poor quality of movement during the first five days of life. In addition to these relative short-term effects, MA has persistent and long-term effects on cognition in childhood and adolescence, including cognitive impairments in visual motor integration and hippocampus-dependent learning and memory. School performance is delayed and physical ability impaired in MA-exposed children. Consistent with hippocampal dysfunction, children exposed in utero to MA have a smaller hippocampus. To increase our understanding of the effects of MA in adolescence and adulthood on brain function, and in particular hippocampal function at these stages of life, translational animal models are helpful. They allow for controlled environmental exposure conditions not feasible in the context of MA exposure in humans. In this chapter, we will review the human and animal data describing the long-term effects of MA exposure during brain development and illustrate the potential role of altered histaminergic and cholinergic neurotransmitter systems in these effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethamphetamines
Subtitle of host publicationAbuse, Health Effects and Treatment Options
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages45
ISBN (Print)9781621002444
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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