Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Jay Metzger

Second Advisor

Jeanie McHugo

Third Advisor

Marilyn Klug


Methamphetamine; Neurodegeneration; Neurotoxicity; MRI; Multiple Sclerosis; Parkinson’s Disease; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; Attenuation; Structural Changes


Methamphetamine (METH) is a highly addictive substance that persists to be a major drug of abuse within the United States, particularly the Midwest regions. While some of the major health ramifications are well documented, its neurological impact is not fully understood. Neurodegenerative conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) continue to increase in frequency, particularly in the Midwest, yet there is no identifiable cause. The purpose of the study was to determine if METH use can contribute to the development of neurological conditions such as MS, PD, and ALS. A literature review was conducted in order to find high quality systemic reviews, randomized controlled trials, and meta-analysis evaluating METH and its impact on structural and chemical components of the nervous system and how this may impact the future development of a neurodegenerative condition. Multiple high quality articles were found using PubMed, EMBASE, Clinical Key, and DynaMed. After reviewing the current literature, it appears the METH use has several major neurotoxic effects resulting in physical and cognitive deficits. There is weak evidence supporting METH use as a risk factor for ALS. Additionally, METH use does not appear to be a risk factor for developing MS but can be a mimicker. It is however a risk factor for developing PD.