A study shows that chronic cocaine abuse speeds up the process of brain aging. The research revealed that age related loss of grey matter inside the human brain is increased in those who are addicted to cocaine in comparison to healthy people.
For the research, the investigators scanned the brains of 120 individuals with the same gender, age and verbal IQ. Half of the subjects had a cocaine addiction while the other half had no history of drug abuse problems.
The study revealed that the rate of age related volume loss of grey matter in cocaine addicted people was substantially higher than in healthy subjects. Cocaine abuse resulted in approximately 3.08 ml brain volume loss each year, and that is nearly double the rate of healthy volunteers. The more rapid age related decline in brain volume was most visible in the prefrontal and temporal cortex, essential parts of the brain that are related to attention, memory, self regulation and decision making.
Past research indicates that physiological and psychological changes normally related to old age such as brain atrophy, cognitive decline and immunodeficiency can also be found in middle aged cocaine addicted people. However, this is the very first time that early aging of the human brain has been related to chronic cocaine abuse.
The researchers also highlight concerns that early aging in chronic cocaine abuse is a growing public health issue. The U. N. Office on Drugs and Crime reports that cocaine is made use of by up to 21 million people around the world, with about one % of these people becoming addicted.
The results clearly highlight the necessity of prevention methods to deal with the risk of early aging related to cocaine abuse. Younger people using cocaine nowadays must be informed about the long term risk of premature aging.
The problem of accelerated aging isn’t restricted to younger people but also impacts older adults who’ve been abusing drugs like cocaine since early adulthood.
Reference for: Aging of the Brain Is Accelerated By Chronic Cocaine Abuse