Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Imaging Shows Similarities in Brains of Marijuana Smokers, Schizophrenics

01.12.2005


Heavy use of marijuana may put adolescents who are genetically predisposed to schizophrenia at greater risk of developing the brain disorder, according to research presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).



Using a sophisticated brain imaging technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), researchers at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York, studied the brains of groups of adolescents: healthy, non-drug users; heavy marijuana smokers (daily use for at least one year); and schizophrenic patients. Unlike magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which provides a static picture of brain structures, DTI detects and measures the motion of water molecules in the brain, which can reveal microscopic abnormalities.

Manzar Ashtari, Ph.D., Sanjiv Kumra, M.D., and colleagues used DTI to examine the arcuate fasciculus, a bundle of fibers connecting the Broca’s area in the left frontal lobe and the Wernicke’s area in the left temporal lobe of the brain. The investigators found that repeated exposure to marijuana was related to abnormalities in the development of this fiber pathway, which is associated with the higher aspects of language and auditory functions.


"Because this language/auditory pathway continues to develop during adolescence, it is most susceptible to the neurotoxins introduced into the body through marijuana use," explained Dr. Ashtari, associate professor of radiology and psychiatry at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

In the study, DTI was performed on 12 healthy, early adolescent males compared with 12 late adolescent males to show normal human brain development; 11 schizophrenic patients compared with 17 matched controls; 15 schizophrenic patients who smoke marijuana compared with 17 matched controls; and 15 marijuana smokers compared with 15 matched non-drug users. The scans revealed no abnormal developmental changes in the language pathway in the healthy adolescents, but showed abnormalities in both the marijuana users and schizophrenic patients.

"These findings suggest that in addition to interfering with normal brain development, heavy marijuana use in adolescents may also lead to an earlier onset of schizophrenia in individuals who are genetically predisposed to the disorder," said co-principal-investigator Sanjiv Kumra, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 3.1 million Americans age 12 and older use marijuana on a daily or almost daily basis. In 2004, 5.6 percent of 12 th graders reported daily use of marijuana.

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder that affects about one percent of the entire population. Although the causes of the disease have not been determined, it is believed to result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.

Drs. Ashtari and Kumra said longitudinal studies are needed to determine whether these changes in the brain are permanent or change over time. It is also important to mention that at this time, DTI and MRI are not diagnostic means for schizophrenia patients or marijuana smokers.

Co-authors are Jinghui Wu, B.S., Kelly Cervellione, M.A., John Kane, M.D., Philip Szeszko, Ph.D., and Babak Ardekani, Ph.D.

Maureen Morley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rsna.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Electrical 'switch' in brain's capillary network monitors activity and controls blood flow
27.03.2017 | Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont

nachricht Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>