Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Methamphetamine Abuse Linked to Parkinson's Disease

Abusing methamphetamine or other stimulants leads to increased chances of developing Parkinson’s disease, say researchers at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. An association between methamphetamine abuse and Parkinson’s has been suspected for 30 years but the new research provides the first documented evidence, said principal researcher Russell Callaghan, Ph.D.

The researchers looked at medical records from 1990 through 2005 of nearly 300,000 patients. Of those, 40,472 were hospitalized for methamphetamine use. That group had a 76 percent greater chance of having Parkinson’s than either of two comparison groups: nonaddicts hospitalized for appendicitis and cocaine abusers.

Statistically, the rate of Parkinson’s among the methamphetamine abusers was 21 per 10,000 and 12 per 10,000 in the general population.

Long-term implications could be significant, said Callaghan: “Given that methamphetamine and other amphetamine stimulants are the second most widely used illicit drugs in the world, the current study will help us anticipate the full long-term medical consequences of such problematic drug use.”

Read about the possible use of a common medication to lower Parkinson's risk in Psychiatric News at


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