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Front Neuroanat. 2013 Jul 17;7:23. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2013.00023. eCollection 2013.

Brain damages in ketamine addicts as revealed by magnetic resonance imaging.

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1
Brain Research Center, Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong SAR, China.

Abstract

Ketamine, a known antagonist of N-methyl-D-aspartic (NMDA) glutamate receptors, had been used as an anesthetic particularly for pediatric or for cardiac patients. Unfortunately, ketamine has become an abusive drug in many parts of the world while chronic and prolonged usage led to damages of many organs including the brain. However, no studies on possible damages in the brains induced by chronic ketamine abuse have been documented in the human via neuroimaging. This paper described for the first time via employing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) the changes in ketamine addicts of 0.5-12 years and illustrated the possible brain regions susceptible to ketamine abuse. Twenty-one ketamine addicts were recruited and the results showed that the lesions in the brains of ketamine addicts were located in many regions which appeared 2-4 years after ketamine addiction. Cortical atrophy was usually evident in the frontal, parietal or occipital cortices of addicts. Such study confirmed that many brain regions in the human were susceptible to chronic ketamine injury and presented a diffuse effect of ketamine on the brain which might differ from other central nervous system (CNS) drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.

KEYWORDS:

addiction; atrophy; brain; ketamine; lesion; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

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