Abuse of methamphetamine may increase a person's risk of developing Parkinson disease, according to a new study (Callaghan RC et al. Drug Alcohol Depend. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.06.013 [published online ahead of print July 26, 2011]).
The idea that methamphetamine abuse might increase the risk of developing Parkinson disease was prompted by studies in animals given methamphetamines documenting damage to dopaminergic neurons—the same brain cells that are damaged in patients with the disorder. To probe this hypothesis, US and Canadian researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study using death records and data from on hospitalizations in California from 1995 to 2005 and compared rates of Parkinson disease among 40 472 patients hospitalized for complications related to methamphetamine use and among controls (matched for age, race, and sex) who had been hospitalized for complications related to cocaine use (35 335 patients) or appendicitis (207 831 patients).
Kuehn BM. Meth Use Linked to Risk of Parkinson Disease. JAMA. 2011;306(8):814. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1205