Published in

Brain Communications, 2022

DOI: 10.1093/braincomms/fcac079



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Morphometric similarity deviations in stimulant use disorder point towards abnormal brain ageing

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Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher

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Data provided by SHERPA/RoMEO


Abstract Chronic drug use negatively impacts ageing, resulting in diminished health and quality of life. However, little is known about biomarkers of abnormal ageing in stimulant drug users. Using morphometric similarity network mapping, a novel approach to structural connectomics, we first mapped cross-sectional morphometric similarity trajectories of ageing in the publicly available Rockland Sample (20-80 years of age, n = 665). We then compared morphometric similarity and neuropsychological function between non-treatment-seeking, actively using patients with stimulant use disorder (n = 183, mean age 35.6 years) and healthy control participants (n = 148, mean age 36.0 years). Significantly altered mean regional morphometric similarity was found in 43 cortical regions including the inferior and orbital frontal gyri, pre/postcentral gyri and anterior temporal, superior parietal and occipital areas. Deviations from normative morphometric similarity trajectories in patients with stimulant use disorder suggested abnormal brain ageing. Furthermore, deficits in paired associates learning were consistent with neuropathology associated with both ageing and stimulant use disorder. Morphometric similarity mapping provides a promising biomarker for ageing in health and disease and may complement existing neuropsychological markers of age-related cognitive decline. Neuropathological ageing mechanisms in stimulant use disorder warrant further investigation to develop more age-appropriate treatments for older people addicted to stimulant drugs.