Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chronic, Heavy Cocaine Use Associated With Long-Lasting Impaired Function

Date:
August 3, 1999
Source:
Nih-National Institute On Drug Abuse
Summary:
The detrimental effects of heavy cocaine use on an individual's manual dexterity, problem solving, and other critical skills can last for up to a month after the drug was taken, according to a study reported in the Summer issue of The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.

The detrimental effects of heavy cocaine use on an individual's manual dexterity, problem solving, and other critical skills can last for up to a month after the drug was taken, according to a study reported in the Summer issue of The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA) and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found that heavy cocaine users were outperformed by moderate users and non-users on most tests measuring verbal memory, manual dexterity, and other cognitive skills. Heavy cocaine use was defined as two or more grams a week.

NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner says, "This study adds to the accumulating - and worrisome - evidence that heavy use of cocaine can result in persistent deficits in the skills needed to succeed in school and on the job. Cocaine users are risking their futures. For them, prevention and effective treatment become critical public health priorities."

"These findings underscore the connection between cocaine use and neurobehavioral effects," says Dr. Karen I. Bolla, Associate Professor of Neurology at Johns Hopkins. "While the intensity (grams per week) of cocaine use was more closely associated with decreased performance than the duration of use, all cocaine users in the study experienced reduced cognitive function."

This is the second recent study in which Dr. Bolla has identified persistent cognitive problems in former heavy drug users. In the December 1998 issue of Neurology, she published results showing memory impairment associated with the heavy use of the drug Ecstasy, also known as MDMA. In that study, too, the problem was related to the amount of the drug taken and lasted at least two weeks after stopping use.

Dr. Bolla and Jean Lud Cadet, M.D., Clinical Director and Chief of Neuropsychiatry at the NIDA Intramural Research Program, studied 30 individuals who had used cocaine at least four times a month for one year or longer and gave a urine sample positive for cocaine at the time of admission into the study.

This group was compared to a control group of 21 individuals with no history of drug use except perhaps nicotine, who said they had not had more than 4 drinks of alcohol in the past 30 days. Cocaine users and controls were similar with respect to age, education, and intelligence. None had any current or past history of psychiatric disorder.

The cocaine users were interviewed about how long they had been using cocaine, how many times per week they used it, and their weekly intake in grams. They were admitted to the NIDA Clinical Inpatient Research Unit, where they remained drug free for 30 days.

The cocaine users were given a battery of neuropsychological tests on the 28th or 29th day after admission to the research unit. Those who reported the heaviest use, as measured by grams per week, performed much worse in most aspects of the testing than did light or moderate cocaine users and non-users.

Dose-related effects were seen primarily on tasks involving the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain most responsible for attention/concentration, planning, and reasoning. The heaviest cocaine users showed slower median reaction times and poorer attention and concentration.

###

NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute also carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on health effects of drugs of abuse and other topics can be ordered free of charge in English and Spanish, by calling NIDA Infofax at 1-888-NIH-NIDA (-644-6432) or 1-888-TYY-NIDA (-889-6432) for the deaf. These fact sheets and further information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at http://www.nida.nih.gov.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Nih-National Institute On Drug Abuse. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Nih-National Institute On Drug Abuse. "Chronic, Heavy Cocaine Use Associated With Long-Lasting Impaired Function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 August 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990803073334.htm>.
Nih-National Institute On Drug Abuse. (1999, August 3). Chronic, Heavy Cocaine Use Associated With Long-Lasting Impaired Function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990803073334.htm
Nih-National Institute On Drug Abuse. "Chronic, Heavy Cocaine Use Associated With Long-Lasting Impaired Function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990803073334.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins