Research Shows Meth Abuse is Linked to Parkinson’s Disease
In case you needed another reason to avoid using meth, a new study from University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare has shown that meth users are three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than non-meth users. That’s lifelong meth side effects.
The connection between meth use and Parkinson’s was first shown by a California study that analyzed nearly 250,000 hospital release records.
However, the new study which was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, was the first study to screen out other factors, like multiple drug addictions. Not only that, the new study looked at records from both inpatient and outpatient facilities, giving researchers a broader view of patient demographics.
The study analyzed 40,000 patient records (patients were kept anonymous) that stretched from 1996 to 2011. Researchers were able to carefully screen out other factors that might have influenced the results by narrowing study groups down to very specific criteria. People who had used other illegal drugs like cocaine, people who had never used any drugs before, and people who had used only meth and not other drugs were all studied independently.
Women at a Higher Risk from Meth Side Effects
After analyzing the data for every possible variable, the study’s authors felt “comfortable” that it was only meth side effects that were related to the development of Parkinson’s disease.
While the researchers saw that meth users were more likely to develop Parkinson’s than non-users, they also noticed another bizarre trend. Women who used meth were around five times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women who didn’t use meth.
That sort of gender bias is unusual to find for any disease. Not only is this an incredibly clear gender bias, it also flies in the face of current knowledge about Parkinson’s disease. Women are generally less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than are men. Co-author of the paper Karen Curtain believes that so many women who develop Parkinson’s as a result of meth side effects should be very concerning.
Treatment for Parkinson’s May be Less Effective for Women
Although women in Utah are less likely to use meth than men, that is changing. More women in their late 20’s have started to use the powerful drug. This means more women will be susceptible to Parkinson’s disease in coming years.
Because many women may not get the same benefits from treatment for Parkinson’s as do men, getting Parkinson’s for women can be a serious problem.
Between the increased risk of Parkinson’s, meth mouth, and all the other health side effects of meth, evidence is showing that it’s best to get to a meth addiction detox sooner than later.