Visual information processing in recently abstaining methamphetamine-dependent individuals: evoked potentials study
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Objective Methamphetamine (MAP) is an indirect dopamine agonist that can temporarily increase cognitive performance. However, its long-term abuse may cause dopamine depletion and consequent cognitive and attentional impairment. The worsening of visual functions in Parkinson’s disease and their improvement after levodopa administration implicates the role of dopamine in the physiology of vision. This provides the rationale for the investigation of visual functions in abstaining MAP abusers. Methods We investigated changes in visually evoked potentials (VEPs) to pattern-reversal and motion-onset stimuli. Such changes serve as indices of visual information processing in the primary and associative areas in a group of recently abstaining MAP abusers (5 females, 18 males, MAP abuse 5.3 ± 2.8 years) and in 23 age- and gender-paired controls. Results We did not find differences between the groups in visual acuity. In the group of MAP abusers we observed an attenuation of the early responses around 80 ms and a prolongation of the P1 peak latency after the reversal of high spatial frequency checkerboards (10 and 20 arcmin checks). Furthermore, an attenuation of the latter positive response (170–250 ms) was observed among all the stimuli in parieto-frontal derivations for the MAP abusers. Conclusions This is the first report suggesting a slowing and attenuation of VEP responses during visual processing in abstaining methamphetamine abusers.
KeywordsMethamphetamine Motion-onset VEPs Pattern-reversal VEPs Vision Visual evoked potentials
The authors thank Ladislava Kolková, research assistant, for her help with data recording. The study was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic (VZ 0021620820).
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