Representative Image
Representative Image

This drug may affect your IQ!

ANI | Updated: Oct 09, 2018 10:50 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Oct 9 (ANI): According to a new research, regular use of the party drug GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate), which is often placed in alcoholic beverages, is associated with brain changes including negative effects on long-term memory, working memory, IQ, and higher levels of stress and anxiety.
GHB also known as 'G' or 'liquid ecstasy', is a central nervous system depressant. It is used extensively in clubs, but also in private house parties. It produces an initial feeling of euphoria in users, but it can also cause sleepiness, and users easily tip into a coma.
Despite its limited recreational use, GHB overdose and coma is the third most common drug-related cause for emergency medical attendance, after heroin and cocaine, and this trend is increasing.
To understand the effects of GHB on the brain, a team of scientists from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, recruited 27 GHB users who had experienced multiple GHB-induced comas (with a minimum of 4 comas), 27 GHB users who had never had a coma, and 27 volunteers who had used drug combinations (polydrug), but had never used GHB.
During the research, each person was asked to complete an adult reading test as a proxy for IQ, anxiety, depression and stress questionnaires and they performed different neurocognitive tasks while undergoing a brain scan (fMRI, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging).
There were two main findings. Firstly, GHB use, even in those who did not undergo a coma, was associated with alterations in the identification of negative emotions. Secondly, the presence of GHB-induced comas, but not the use of GHB per se, was associated with lower IQ (despite similar educational level), and altered brain processes during verbal long-term memory and working memory.
Additional analyses showed that these findings could not be attributed to group differences in the use of drugs other than GHB.
Lead researcher, Filipa Raposo Pereira, said "Surprisingly little is known about the effects of GHB in humans, and as far as we know, these are the first functional MRI scans to gauge the effect of the regular GHB use and multiple GHB-induced comas. Our results indicate that there may be risks involved in regular GHB use. This is particularly relevant to regular users with multiple GHB-induced comas; we found that these users show differences in cognition to either those who don't fall into a coma or drug users who have never used GHB."
MRI scans also show that there are changes to the brain, with some areas showing altered brain activity and connectivity between memory-related cerebral pathways. These results show that there are brain and cognitive changes associated with multiple GHB-induced comas. Most users experience only the feeling of elation followed by drowsiness or sleep, so they don't see that there might be any negative effects. This work indicates that might not be the case. (ANI)

iocl