January 03, 2007
Methamphetamine Increases Stroke Risk

Methamphetamine and cocaine probably are toxic to artery cells.

ST. PAUL, Minn – Methamphetamine use may be associated with increased risks of major neck artery tears and stroke, according to an article published in the December 26, 2006, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“It appears methamphetamine use is toxic to large blood vessels,” said the study’s senior author Wengui Yu, MD, PhD, with the University of California, Irvine Medical Center and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The article reviewed the cases of two women, ages 36 and 29, who had sudden onset of speech difficulty and weakness following recent use of methamphetamine.

Brain scans showed both women had severe strokes from carotid artery dissection, which is a tear in the inner lining of one of the major arteries in the neck. On the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, the 36-year-old woman received a score of 21 and was treated with tissue plasminogen activator. The 29-year-old woman, who required a stent to treat the blockage in her common carotid artery, received a score of 17. Stroke Scale scores over 16 predict a high probability of death or severe disability.

Toxic drugs that cause cell death accelerate the aging process. Even if abusers stop taking meth or coke they've forced their stem cells to do a lot more dividing to repair the damage they were constantly causing while still using. All that extra cell division causes the stem cells to wear out more quickly. So as they get older they'll probably develop circulatory problems sooner than they otherwise would have.

Meth and coke users probably also get silent strokes due to damage to smaller blood vessels that affect smaller regions in the brain. Brain cell death amounts to loss of part of your identity. Once we gain the ability to grow replacement brain cells from youthful stem cells that won't bring back memories that went away with the cell death caused by stroke.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 January 03 10:20 PM  Brain Addiction


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