Age-related brain volume reductions in amphetamine and cocaine addicts and normal controls: implications for addiction research

Psychiatry Res. 2000 Apr 10;98(2):93-102. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4927(99)00052-9.


The study evaluated the relationship between age and frontal and temporal lobe volumes in young cohorts of cocaine-dependent (CD), amphetamine-dependent (Am), and normal control subjects. Ten CD, nine Am, and 16 age- and gender-matched control subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The volume of the frontal and temporal lobes was measured from an identically positioned slab of seven contiguous 3-mm-thick coronal images. Follow-up measures of the gray and white matter subcomponents of these volumes were also obtained. Both CD and Am groups had a significantly smaller temporal lobe volumes, but only the CD group demonstrated a significantly greater decline in temporal lobe volume with age (intracranial volume, education, and race were controlled for in all statistical analyses). Segmenting the brain regions into gray and white matter revealed that the negative correlation between age and temporal lobe volume of CD patients was mostly due to a significant age-related decline in the gray matter subcomponent. Negative trends between age and gray matter volumes were also observed in the Am and normal groups. In the frontal lobes, age was negatively correlated with gray matter volume in the control, CD, and Am groups. Unlike the consistent decreases in gray matter volumes, white matter showed non-significant increases in volume with age. The data suggest that CD patients may have an accelerated age-related decline in temporal lobe gray matter volume and a smaller temporal lobe volume compared to normal controls. In the frontal lobe, age-related gray matter volume reductions occur in all three groups. These age-related cortical gray matter volume reductions may be a biological marker for the risk of addictive behavior, which also decreases with age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Crack Cocaine*
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology*


  • Crack Cocaine