Neuropsychology Review

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 275–297 | Cite as

Neurocognitive Effects of Methamphetamine: A Critical Review and Meta-analysis

  • J. Cobb Scott
  • Steven Paul Woods
  • Georg E. Matt
  • Rachel A. Meyer
  • Robert K. Heaton
  • J. Hampton Atkinson
  • Igor Grant


This review provides a critical analysis of the central nervous system effects of acute and chronic methamphetamine (MA) use, which is linked to numerous adverse psychosocial, neuropsychiatric, and medical problems. A meta-analysis of the neuropsychological effects of MA abuse/dependence revealed broadly medium effect sizes, showing deficits in episodic memory, executive functions, information processing speed, motor skills, language, and visuoconstructional abilities. The neuropsychological deficits associated with MA abuse/dependence are interpreted with regard to their possible neural mechanisms, most notably MA-associated frontostriatal neurotoxicity. In addition, potential explanatory factors are considered, including demographics (e.g., gender), MA use characteristics (e.g., duration of abstinence), and the influence of common psychiatric (e.g., other substance-related disorders) and neuromedical (e.g., HIV infection) comorbidities. Finally, these findings are discussed with respect to their potential contribution to the clinical management of persons with MA abuse/dependence.


Central nervous system Methamphetamine Abuse Dependence Neuropsychological assessment Cognition 



The research described was supported by DA12065 and MH62512 from the National Institutes of Health. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.

The authors thank Drs. Raul Gonzalez and John Monterosso for kindly providing supplementary data for analyses.

The following studies were included in the meta-analysis: Chang et al. 2002, 2005a; Gonzalez et al. 2007; Hoffman et al. 2006; Johanson et al. 2006; Kalechstein et al. 2003; Kim et al. 2005; London et al. 2005; Monterosso et al. 2005, 2006; Newton et al. 2004; Paulus et al. 2003; Rippeth et al. 2004; Salo et al. 2002, 2005, 2007; Simon et al. 2000, 2004.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Cobb Scott
    • 1
  • Steven Paul Woods
    • 2
    • 4
  • Georg E. Matt
    • 3
  • Rachel A. Meyer
    • 2
  • Robert K. Heaton
    • 2
  • J. Hampton Atkinson
    • 2
  • Igor Grant
    • 2
  1. 1.Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical PsychologySan Diego State University and University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry (0847), School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  4. 4.HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center, Department of Psychiatry (0847)University of California, San DiegoSan DiegoUSA

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