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Attentional Control and Brain Metabolite Levels in Methamphetamine Abusers

Published:November 13, 2006DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.07.031

      Background

      Methamphetamine abuse is associated with neurotoxicity to frontostriatal brain regions with concomitant deleterious effects on cognitive processes.

      Methods

      By using a computerized measure of selective attention and single-voxel proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, we examined the relationship between attentional control and brain metabolite levels in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and primary visual cortex (PVC) in 36 currently abstinent methamphetamine abusers and 16 non–substance-using controls.

      Results

      The methamphetamine abusers exhibited reduced attentional control (i.e., increased Stroop interference) compared with the controls (p = .04). Bonferroni-adjusted comparisons revealed that ACC levels of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA)–creatine and phosphocreatine (Cr) were lower and that levels of choline (Cho)–NAA were higher in the methamphetamine abusers compared with the controls, at the adjusted p value of .0125. Levels of NAA-Cr, but not of Cho-NAA, within the ACC correlated with measures of attentional control in the methamphetamine abusers (r = −.41; p = .01) but not in controls (r = .22; p = .42). No significant correlations were observed in the PVC (methamphetamine abusers, r = .19; p = .28, controls, r = .38; p = .15).

      Conclusions

      Changes in neurochemicals within frontostriatal brain regions including ACC may contribute to deficits in attentional control among chronic methamphetamine abusers.

      Key Words

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