Effect of WM training on higher order cognitive functions and brain MRI findings in children exposed to drugs in the prenatal environment

Institution: University of Hawaii and Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Investigator(s): Dr. Linda Chang, Dr. Jon Skranes

Program: Cogmed RM

Background & Aim: Methamphetamine (Meth), an addictive stimulant drug that is similar in structure to amphetamine is second only to alcohol and marihuana as the drug used most frequently in many Western and Midwestern states in the USA. Children exposed to Meth prenatally experience neurocognitive deficits, especially regarding sustained attention and delayed verbal memory, that have been related to reduced volume of several sub-cortical structures. In addition, children with prenatal Meth exposure have been found to have lower brain diffusivity seen on DTI than unexposed subjects, particularly in the frontal and parietal areas, indicating deviations in white matter. The aim of this research is to evaluate the efficacy of Cogmed in improving cognitive function and brain development in children exposed to methamphetamine in utero.

Population & Sample Size: N = 20 children exposed to methamphetamine and nicotine prenatally (in utero), ages 5-8 years

Design: Randomized, Controlled, Test-retest