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J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2018 Aug;40(6):619-632. doi: 10.1080/13803395.2017.1403569. Epub 2017 Dec 10.

Assessing cognitive functioning in individuals with cocaine use disorder.

Author information

1
a Department of Psychology , Columbia University , New York , NY , USA.
2
b Division on Substance Abuse , New York State Psychiatric Institute , New York , NY , USA.
3
c Cognitive Neuroscience Division and Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, Department of Neurology , Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons , New York , NY , USA.
4
d Department of Neurology and Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and The Aging Brain, College of Physicians and Surgeons , Columbia University , New York , NY , USA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

There have been mixed findings assessing the impact of regular cocaine use on cognitive functioning. This study employed a comprehensive cognitive battery to compare the performance of individuals diagnosed with a cocaine use disorder (N = 3 abusers, N = 17 dependent) against the performance of two control groups: (a) non-drug-users, and (b) marijuana users who report no cocaine use (N = 7 marijuana abusers, N = 0 dependent, N = 13 marijuana users with no Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition, DSM-IV, diagnosis).

METHOD:

This one-session, between-participants, outpatient study was conducted at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Sixty research volunteers completed the study. Drug users in both groups had no signs of current intoxication, but had a positive urine toxicology-which indicated use within 72 hours in the cocaine use disorder group and within the past 30 days (depending on frequency of use) for the marijuana-using control group. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Toolbox Cognition Battery was used to assess cognitive functioning across six domains: executive function, attention, episodic memory, working memory, processing speed, and language. Each participant's score was also compared against a normative database adjusted for age.

RESULTS:

Although the mean cognitive scores for all groups fell within the normal range for all tests, marijuana-using control participants outperformed those with a cocaine use disorder on a cognitive flexibility and language measure.

CONCLUSIONS:

Cognitive functioning of individuals diagnosed with cocaine use disorder was observed to be similar to that of control group participants on the majority of tasks and fell within the normal range when compared against normative data.

KEYWORDS:

Addiction; cocaine; cognition; impairment; normative scores

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