Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Long-term anabolic-androgenic steroid use may impact visuospatial memory

Date:
December 14, 2012
Source:
McLean Hospital
Summary:
The long-term use of anabolic-androgenic steroids may severely impact the user's ability to accurately recall the shapes and spatial relationships of objects, according to a recent study.

The long-term use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) may severely impact the user's ability to accurately recall the shapes and spatial relationships of objects, according to a recent study conducted by McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School investigators.

In the study, published December 14 online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, McLean Hospital Research Psychiatrist Harrison Pope, MD, used a variety of tests to determine whether AAS users developed cognitive defects due to their admitted history of abuse.

"Our work clearly shows that while some areas of brain function appear to be unaffected by the use of AAS, users performed significantly worse on the visuospatial tests that were administered. Those deficits directly corresponded to their length of use of anabolic-androgenic steroids," explained Pope. "Impaired visuospatial memory means that a person might have difficulty, for example, in remembering how to find a location, such as an address on a street or a room in a building."

The study looked at 44 individuals whose ages ranged from 29-55, with 31 having used AAS for an average of seven years. Each participant was asked to complete five cognitive tests that assessed a wide range of brain functions, including memory for shapes and locations of objects, memory for lists of words, reaction time, ability to maintain attention, and speed of information processing .

Pope and his colleagues discovered that those participants who were long-term AAS users did significantly worse than nonusers on a test called "Pattern Recognition Memory," where participants are asked to try to remember a collection of patterns that they have been presented on a computer screen. The scores on this test declined noticeably with increasing lifetime AAS dose. These results remained stable in sensitivity analyses addressing potential confounding factors, indicating that the findings were unlikely to be attributable to some factor other than AAS use.

Pope explained, "We have seen a significant rise in AAS use within the general population over the last 20 years, and are finding that people are taking doses that are often 10 times stronger than those typically used in the 1960s and 70s. We are worried that with higher doses of AAS and longer periods of lifetime exposure, some people might even eventually develop visuospatial deficits similar to those sometimes seen in elderly people with dementia, who can become easily become lost or disoriented. "

According to Pope, science still knows very little about the very long-term effects of AAS abuse, so few in fact that the McLean team did not know if they would even find that the extended use of AAS resulted in any cognitive defects. "The magnitude of our findings was quite shocking and we hope that they will lead to larger studies and increased awareness regarding the possible dangers of the use and abuse of AAS," said Pope.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McLean Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gen Kanayama, Joseph Kean, James I. Hudson, Harrison G. Pope. Cognitive deficits in long-term anabolic-androgenic steroid users. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.11.008

Cite This Page:

McLean Hospital. "Long-term anabolic-androgenic steroid use may impact visuospatial memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121214143025.htm>.
McLean Hospital. (2012, December 14). Long-term anabolic-androgenic steroid use may impact visuospatial memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121214143025.htm
McLean Hospital. "Long-term anabolic-androgenic steroid use may impact visuospatial memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121214143025.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan have designed an app to fight jet lag by adjusting your body's light intake. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

AP (Apr. 10, 2014) As states slash funding for mental health services, police officers are interacting more than ever with people suffering from schizophrenia and other serious disorders of the mind. The consequences can be deadly. (April 10) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Newsy (Apr. 9, 2014) A University of Pittsburgh study found pop music that mentions alcohol is linked to higher drinking rates among teens. 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:
from the past week

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