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Friday, December 19, 2014

Methamphetamine Users May Develop Parkinson's Disease

English: Crystal methamphetamine
When people think of methamphetamine, the first thoughts are often times quite negative, such as diminished physical appearance from the toxic chemicals in the drug and erratic behavior due to sleep deprivation. It turns out that those negative side effects may not be the worst of it; a new study has found that methamphetamine users are three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than people who do not use the drug, Medical News Today reports.

What’s more, the researchers who conducted the study at the University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare, found that female methamphetamine users may be almost five times as likely to develop Parkinson’s compared with women who do not use drugs.

“Typically, fewer females use meth than males do,” study senior author Glen R. Hanson, D.D.S., Ph.D., professor and interim dean of the University of Utah School of Dentistry and professor of pharmacology and toxicology, noted in a press release. “Even though women are less likely to use it, there appears to be a gender bias toward women in the association between meth use and Parkinson’s.”

Patient data from the University of Utah Health Care and Intermountain Healthcare, as well as more than 40,000 records in the Utah Population Database (UPDB), comprised of genealogical, medical and government-provided information on Utah families, was combed through by researchers. The data that contained identifying patient information was removed in order for all participants to remain anonymous, according to the article.

Only patients who had used only meth and cocaine were considered for the study. Patients who had used any other controlled substance or alcohol with methamphetamine or cocaine were not eligible for the research. The control group was then compared to both the methamphetamine and cocaine groups.

The participants in the cocaine group were not found to be at increased risk for Parkinson's.

"We feel comfortable that it's just the meth causing the risk for Parkinson's, and not other drugs or a combination of meth and other drugs," says Hanson.

The research was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

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