Prospective memory impairment in former users of methamphetamine

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Rationale: Considerable research indicates that methamphetamine use is associated with neurocognitive impairment, but no empirical study to date has assessed whether these difficulties extend to memory for future intentions (prospective memory). Objectives: The present study assessed prospective performance on a laboratory measure of prospective memory that closely represents the types of prospective memory tasks that actually occur in everyday life and provides an opportunity to investigate the different sorts of prospective memory failures that occur (“Virtual Week”). Materials and methods: Twenty adults with confirmed history of methamphetamine use and dependence, currently engaged in rehabilitation and confirmed to be abstinent for an average period of 6 months, and 20 methamphetamine-naive participants were tested on Virtual Week. Various other aspects of cognitive function were also assessed, including retrospective memory and executive functioning. Results: Methamphetamine users were significantly impaired on Virtual Week, and these deficits did not vary as a function of specific prospective memory task demands. Of all the cognitive measures, cognitive inhibition shared greatest variance with group effects on the prospective memory measure. Conclusions: Prospective memory performance is sensitive to prior methamphetamine use even well into abstinence. Methamphetamine users experience generalized difficulties with prospective memory, suggesting that these deficits are likely to have important implications for day-to-day functioning.

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Journal Article

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