Reversible brain white matter microstructure changes in heroin addicts: a longitudinal study

Xuyi Wang, Rongjun Yu, Xuhui Zhou, Yanhui Liao, Jinsong Tang, Tieqiao Liu, Baoci Shan, Wei Hao
Addiction Biology 2013, 18 (4): 727-8
Previous neuroimaging studies have documented the structural damage in heroin addicts. However, little research has detailed the white matter microstructural changes in the human brain as a result of chronic heroin use and importantly, whether such changes can be recovered after short-term abstinence. Decreased fractional anisotropy values in frontal cortex were found in heroin users after 3 days of abstinence in comparison with controls. However, no significant difference was found between these heroin addicts and controls after 1-month abstinence. These results might better our understanding of the biological basis of drug addiction and provide insight into addiction treatment.

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