Neurochemical changes caused by drug abuse are reversed after withdrawal

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  • Published: Aug 18, 2013
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: NMR Knowledge Base

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One of the many problems associated with long-term drug abuse is the changes it makes to the body, especially to the chemicals in the brain. In methamphetamine users, levels of creatinine and N-acetylaspartate, which is a marker of neuronal integrity, are known to fall while those of choline and myo-inositol, an indicator of injury to the glia, are increased.

Now, a team of scientists in the USA have shown that these compounds begin to return to pre-addiction levels following withdrawal from the drug. Writing in Addiction Biology, they explained how they used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to follow changes in the amounts of neurochemicals in rhesus macaque monkeys that had self-administered methamphetamine for up to 8 years.

Even one week after withdrawal, the levels of several neurochemicals began to move towards "normal" levels. Within one year, they had reached the same concentrations as those in a set of control animals. This is good news for methamphetamine addicts. Stop taking the drug and you will see positive changes that will restore your brain function towards normality.

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