Perfusion MRI and computerized cognitive test abnormalities in abstinent methamphetamine users

Psychiatry Res. 2002 Jun 15;114(2):65-79. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4927(02)00004-5.


This study aims to determine possible persistent abnormalities in regional cerebral blood flow (relative rCBF) and cognitive function in abstinent methamphetamine (METH) users. Twenty METH-dependent subjects (abstinent for 8+/-2 months) and 20 age- and gender-matched controls were evaluated with perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (pMRI) and neuropsychological tests. METH users showed decreased relative rCBF bilaterally in putamen/insular cortices (right: -12%; left: -10%) and the right lateral parietal brain region (-11%), but increased relative rCBF bilaterally in the left temporoparietal white matter (+13%), the left occipital brain region: (+10%) and the right posterior parietal region (+24%). Interaction effects were observed between METH and gender in the right occipital cortex and a midline brain region; female METH users showed increased relative rCBF (+15% both regions) whereas the male METH users had decreased relative rCBF (-10% and -18%, respectively). METH users performed within normal ranges on standard neuropsychological tests; however, they were slower on several tasks on the California Computerized Assessment Package (CalCAP), especially tasks that required working memory. These findings suggest that METH abuse is associated with persistent physiologic changes in the brain, and these changes are accompanied by slower reaction times on computerized measures of cognitive function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Contrast Media
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted*
  • Echo-Planar Imaging*
  • Female
  • Gadolinium
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reference Values
  • Regional Blood Flow / drug effects
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*


  • Contrast Media
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • gadoteridol
  • Methamphetamine
  • Gadolinium