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Cannabis use and memory brain function in adolescent boys: a cross-sectional multicenter functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Early-onset cannabis use has been associated with later use/abuse, mental health problems (psychosis, depression), and abnormal development of cognition and brain function. During adolescence, ongoing neurodevelopmental maturation and experience shape the neural circuitry underlying complex cognitive functions such as memory and executive control. Prefrontal and temporal regions are critically involved in these functions. Maturational processes leave these brain areas prone to the potentially harmful effects of cannabis use.

METHOD

We performed a two-site (United States and The Netherlands; pooled data) functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study with a cross-sectional design, investigating the effects of adolescent cannabis use on working memory (WM) and associative memory (AM) brain function in 21 abstinent but frequent cannabis-using boys (13-19) years of age and compared them with 24 nonusing peers. Brain activity during WM was assessed before and after rule-based learning (automatization). AM was assessed using a pictorial hippocampal-dependent memory task.

RESULTS

Cannabis users performed normally on both memory tasks. During WM assessment, cannabis users showed excessive activity in prefrontal regions when a task was novel, whereas automatization of the task reduced activity to the same level in users and controls. No effect of cannabis use on AM-related brain function was found.

CONCLUSIONS

In adolescent cannabis users, the WM system was overactive during a novel task, suggesting functional compensation. Inefficient WM recruitment was not related to a failure in automatization but became evident when processing continuously changing information. The results seem to confirm the vulnerability of still developing frontal lobe functioning for early-onset cannabis use.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands. gjager@umcutrecht.nl

    , ,

    Source

    MeSH

    Adolescent
    Association Learning
    Attention
    Conduct Disorder
    Cross-Sectional Studies
    Executive Function
    Humans
    Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    Male
    Marijuana Abuse
    Marijuana Smoking
    Memory, Short-Term
    Neuropsychological Tests
    Prefrontal Cortex
    Psychometrics

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Multicenter Study
    Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    20494266

    Citation

    Jager, Gerry, et al. "Cannabis Use and Memory Brain Function in Adolescent Boys: a Cross-sectional Multicenter Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 49, no. 6, 2010, pp. 561-72, 572.e1-3.
    Jager G, Block RI, Luijten M, et al. Cannabis use and memory brain function in adolescent boys: a cross-sectional multicenter functional magnetic resonance imaging study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010;49(6):561-72, 572.e1-3.
    Jager, G., Block, R. I., Luijten, M., & Ramsey, N. F. (2010). Cannabis use and memory brain function in adolescent boys: a cross-sectional multicenter functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(6), pp. 561-72, 572.e1-3. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2010.02.001.
    Jager G, et al. Cannabis Use and Memory Brain Function in Adolescent Boys: a Cross-sectional Multicenter Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010;49(6):561-72, 572.e1-3. PubMed PMID: 20494266.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Cannabis use and memory brain function in adolescent boys: a cross-sectional multicenter functional magnetic resonance imaging study. AU - Jager,Gerry, AU - Block,Robert I, AU - Luijten,Maartje, AU - Ramsey,Nick F, Y1 - 2010/04/14/ PY - 2009/07/14/received PY - 2010/02/03/revised PY - 2010/02/03/accepted PY - 2010/5/25/entrez PY - 2010/5/25/pubmed PY - 2010/12/29/medline SP - 561-72, 572.e1-3 JF - Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry JO - J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry VL - 49 IS - 6 N2 - OBJECTIVE: Early-onset cannabis use has been associated with later use/abuse, mental health problems (psychosis, depression), and abnormal development of cognition and brain function. During adolescence, ongoing neurodevelopmental maturation and experience shape the neural circuitry underlying complex cognitive functions such as memory and executive control. Prefrontal and temporal regions are critically involved in these functions. Maturational processes leave these brain areas prone to the potentially harmful effects of cannabis use. METHOD: We performed a two-site (United States and The Netherlands; pooled data) functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study with a cross-sectional design, investigating the effects of adolescent cannabis use on working memory (WM) and associative memory (AM) brain function in 21 abstinent but frequent cannabis-using boys (13-19) years of age and compared them with 24 nonusing peers. Brain activity during WM was assessed before and after rule-based learning (automatization). AM was assessed using a pictorial hippocampal-dependent memory task. RESULTS: Cannabis users performed normally on both memory tasks. During WM assessment, cannabis users showed excessive activity in prefrontal regions when a task was novel, whereas automatization of the task reduced activity to the same level in users and controls. No effect of cannabis use on AM-related brain function was found. CONCLUSIONS: In adolescent cannabis users, the WM system was overactive during a novel task, suggesting functional compensation. Inefficient WM recruitment was not related to a failure in automatization but became evident when processing continuously changing information. The results seem to confirm the vulnerability of still developing frontal lobe functioning for early-onset cannabis use. SN - 1527-5418 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/20494266/Cannabis_use_and_memory_brain_function_in_adolescent_boys:_a_cross_sectional_multicenter_functional_magnetic_resonance_imaging_study_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0890-8567(10)00108-5 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -