Background: The current study was conducted to compare the prevalence, severity, and location of white matter signal hyperintensities (WMH) on brain magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in methamphetamine (MA) abusers. Methods: Thirty-three MA abusers and 32 age- and gender-matched healthy comparison subjects were studied. Axial T-2 weighted images and fluid attenuated inversion recovery axial images were obtained using 3.0 T MR scanner. The severity of WMH was assessed separately for deep and periventricular WMH. Ordinal logistic regression models were used to assess the odds ratio for WMH. Results: MA abusers had greater severity of WMH than the healthy comparison subjects (odds ratio: 7.06, 8.46, and 4.56 for all, deep, and periventricular WMH, respectively). Severity of deep WMH correlated with total cumulative dose of MA (p = 0.027). Male MA abusers had greater severity of WMH than female MA abusers (odds ratio = 10.00). While male MA abusers had greater severity of WMH than male comparison subjects (odds ratio = 18.86), there was no significant difference in WMH severity between female MA abusers and female comparison subjects. Conclusions: The current study reports increased WMH in MA abusers, which may be related to MA-induced cerebral perfusion deficits. In addition, female MA abusers had less severe WMH than male MA abusers, possibly due to estrogen's protective effect against ischemic or neurotoxic effects of MA.
- Brain magnetic resonance imaging
- Gender difference
- White matter hyperintensities