Cerebral Metabolic Dysfunction and Impaired Vigilance in Recently Abstinent Methamphetamine Abusers

Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90024-1759, USA.
Biological Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.26). 12/2005; 58(10):770-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.04.039
Source: PubMed


Methamphetamine (MA) abusers have cognitive deficits, abnormal metabolic activity and structural deficits in limbic and paralimbic cortices, and reduced hippocampal volume. The links between cognitive impairment and these cerebral abnormalities are not established.
We assessed cerebral glucose metabolism with [F-18]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography in 17 abstinent (4 to 7 days) methamphetamine users and 16 control subjects performing an auditory vigilance task and obtained structural magnetic resonance brain scans. Regional brain radioactivity served as a marker for relative glucose metabolism. Error rates on the task were related to regional radioactivity and hippocampal morphology.
Methamphetamine users had higher error rates than control subjects on the vigilance task. The groups showed different relationships between error rates and relative activity in the anterior and middle cingulate gyrus and the insula. Whereas the MA user group showed negative correlations involving these regions, the control group showed positive correlations involving the cingulate cortex. Across groups, hippocampal metabolic and structural measures were negatively correlated with error rates.
Dysfunction in the cingulate and insular cortices of recently abstinent MA abusers contribute to impaired vigilance and other cognitive functions requiring sustained attention. Hippocampal integrity predicts task performance in methamphetamine users as well as control subjects.

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