Sunday , May 28 2023

Scary photo shows drug "eating away"


These brain research shows the awesome reality of taking too much cocaine.

The pictures show how the Class A drug can "eat away" at your brain, leaving you with disabilities – and at worst, dead.


It's a rare but severe side effect of the drug, doctors warned after treating a man who was taken to his parents' hospital in Msida, Malta, The sun reports.

The 45-year-old was confused and behaved strangely, before doctors realized he was suffering from cocaine-induced toxic leukoencephalopathy.

Dr Ylenia Abdilla, who treated the unnamed man, explained: "It is a rare disorder that can cause serious disability."

Sharing the medical case report, she added: "This case study aims to increase awareness of this condition.

"The prognosis is generally bad and can quickly be fatal, yet some rare cases are fully healed, as seen in this case report."


Dr Abdilla and colleagues at Mater Dei Hospital in Malta treated the man two to three days after he last took cocaine.

The 45-year-old regular hip user was pushed into his parents' A&E after two days of confusion.

Regular cocaine user MRI scans reveal the damage that the drug can cause over time. Image: BMJ Publishing Group Limited 2019

Regular cocaine user MRI scans reveal the damage that the drug can cause over time. Image: BMJ Publishing Group Limited 2019

Doctors noted that his pupils were dilated and "rapidly reacting to light", and that the patient was "not cooperative, unable to perform simple tasks and did not follow commands".

Dr Abdilla's team sent his patient for MRI scans on his brain.

They revealed damage to the white matter in the brain, and doctors diagnosed him with the rare condition toxic cocaine-induced leucoencephalopathy.


Dr Abdilla said: "It may be presented in several different ways.

"These include an altered level of awareness, confusion, impaired language, altered vision, fever or savings.

"Prognosis is bad – the condition progresses rapidly and often leads to death.

"It has rarely been reported to result in complete healing, as in our case."

Doctors treated the man, giving him steroids, plasma exchange and antibodies.

He was transferred to a restaurant where he showed signs of improvement.

After four months, he walked independently, and handled most aspects of daily life.

The patient was treated for anxiety and managed to stay off drugs – meaning he was allowed home a month later.

One year after he was admitted to hospital, the man returned to follow up.

He had not used drugs for a year, and while his brain scan still showed "constant white matter changes", neurological tests were normal.

Dr. Abdilla's team noted: "In addition to some complaints of low mood, he was fully independent and returned to his former functional status."

According to The National Drug and Alcohol Research Center's (NDARC) 2018 Drug Trend Report, Australians are consuming record levels of cocaine.

Researchers found nearly 60 percent of respondents (59 percent) reported using cocaine in the past six months, up from 48 percent during the last phase of interviews in 2017.

It is the highest recorded level since the annual Drug Trend reports began in 2003.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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