Napapon Sailasuta1, Osama Abulseoud2, Martha Hernandez2,3, Thao T. Tran1,3, Brian D. Ross1,3
1Clinical MR Spectroscopy, Huntington Medical Research Institutes, Pasadena, CA, United States; 2University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, United States; 3Rudi Schulte Research Institute, Santa Barbara , CA, United States
Does excitatory drug abuse, specifically of methamphetamine, have the expected effect on the major excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate? Using TE-Average at 3 Tesla, and examining frontal white matter, site of the major neuropsychological deficits in this patient population, we describe a 20% increase in brain glutamate. This is accompanied by the previously described 15% reduction in the neuronal marker NAA. The two neurochemical changes are statistically correlated (P<0.003) inviting the question whether the one is causative of the other. The hypothesis linking excitatory drug use with excitatory neurotransmitter excess is confirmed. Longitudinal studies are in progress to answer that new question.