Researchers discover link between methamphetamine use and Parkinson’s

 Australian researchers have discovered a link between methamphetamine use and Parkinson’s disease.

In a world-first study published on Monday, researchers from the University of South Australia (UniSA) found that using methamphetamine – also known as ice – as few as five times could have lasting effects on the regions of the brain that control movement.

It is the first time the link has been demonstrated in humans decades after it was discovered in animals.

“Using methamphetamine, even just a few times, can lead to long-lasting effects on the body and it’s important to raise awareness of this in the community,” Gabrielle Todd, lead author of the study, said in a media release.

Parts of the brain that are responsible for movement are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of methamphetamine, he said.

“The damage that methamphetamine causes can lead to movement problems and increases the risk of developing movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.”

The study was published to coincide with the state government of South Australia (SA) launching a new campaign raising awareness of the long-term impacts of methamphetamine use.

According to the 16th report from the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program, which was released by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) in June, Australia has topped the list of methylamphetamine use among more than 20 countries.

“The surveys show 47 percent of people aren’t aware that using ice has long-term health impacts,” Chris Picton, SA’s Health Minister, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday.

“Ice and methamphetamine use across the state is a huge issue and we know the impact it is having on communities and families.” ■

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