The Impact of Clinical and Demographic Variables on Cognitive Performance in Methamphetamine-Dependent Individuals in Rural South Carolina

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Inconsistencies in reports on methamphetamine (METH) associated cognitive dysfunction may be attributed, at least in part, to the diversity of study sample features (eg, clinical and demographic characteristics). The current study assessed cognitive function in a METH-dependent population from rural South Carolina, and the impact of demographic and clinical characteristics on performance. Seventy-one male (28.2%) and female (71.8%) METH-dependent subjects were administered a battery of neurocognitive tests including the Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM), Shipley Institute of Living Scale, Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT), Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), Grooved Pegboard Test, California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Demographic and clinical characteristics (eg, gender, frequency of METH use) were examined as predictors of performance. Subjects scored significantly lower than expected on one test of attention and one of fine motor function, but performed adequately on all other tests. There were no predictors of performance on attention; however, more frequent METH use was associated with better performance for males and worse for females on fine motor skills. The METH-dependent individuals in this population exhibit very limited cognitive impairment. The marked differences in education, Intellectual Quotient (IQ), and gender in our sample when compared to the published literature may contribute to these findings. Characterization of the impact of clinical and/or demographic features on cognitive deficits could be important in guiding the development of treatment interventions. (Am J Addict 2011;00:1--9)

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