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Study Highlights Risks Associated With Nonmedical Use of Stimulants

November 27, 2018

A study using animal models suggests risks in brain development related to young people's use of stimulant medication non-therapeutically.

Conducted at the University at Buffalo's Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions, the study found that chronic use of methylphenidate (Ritalin) without the presence of symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) resulted in neuroinflammation in brain regions associated with motivated behavior.

“One month after use was stopped, the inflammation and structural changes were still there,” said study co-author Panayotis Thanos, PhD, senior research scientist at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “This could result in long-term risks for young adults, as these areas of the brain also influence addiction and the ability to respond to changes in the environment.”

The research was published in the Journal of Neural Transmission.

—Gary A. Enos

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