Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Time perception deficits and its dose-dependent effect in methamphetamine dependents with short-term abstinence

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Science Advances  30 Oct 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 10, eaax6916
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax6916


Intake of addictive substances acutely modifies dopaminergic transmission in the striatum and prefrontal cortex, which is the neural substrate underlying time processing. However, the persistent effects of methamphetamine (meth) abuse (e.g., during abstinence) on temporal processing have not been fully elucidated. Here, we recruited different samples in two experiments. We first compared the potential differences in motor timing between healthy controls and meth dependents with varied length of abstinence and then examined the ability of perceptual timing between the healthy subjects and the meth group at short abstinence. We found that motor timing, but not perceptual timing, was altered in meth dependents, which persisted for at least 3 months of abstinence. Dose-dependent effects on time perception were only observed when short-term abstinent meth abusers processed long time intervals. We conclude that time perception alteration in meth dependents is task specific and dose dependent.

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