Yale to study marijuana, ecstasy and teen cognitive deficits


Yale School of Medicine has received a $1.7 million grant to study whether a history of use of MDMA (ecstasy) and marijuana is associated with cognitive deficits in adolescents.

The study, which will include 200 adolescent participants, also will examine whether sustained abstinence from drug use leads to recovery of cognitive function in this population.

The grant builds on a preliminary study by principal investigator, Leslie Jacobsen, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry, and colleagues, showing evidence of abnormal function in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory.

"Although we know a great deal about lasting effects of drug use on cognitive function in adults, very little is known about this issue in teenagers," Jacobsen said. "A better understanding of the cognitive profile of adolescents with histories of drug use will help us develop more effective treatments to help adolescents stop using drugs and remain drug free. This study will also address the critical question of whether there is recovery of cognitive function after sustained abstinence in this population."

The study will compare subjects with and without a history of drug use by cognitive measures and functional magnetic resonance imaging, a non-invasive method of measuring brain function. All subjects will receive abstinence-oriented treatment and will be followed for two years.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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