More than a dozen people who used fentanyl, either alone or in combination with stimulants, have suffered severe memory loss, researchers from West Virginia University report.
These cases involved severe short-term memory loss, HealthDay reports. Imaging scans revealed the patients had lesions on the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with memory. The patients did not recovery quickly, and may never fully regain their short-term memory, according to lead researcher Marc Haut.
“They all have difficulty learning new information, and it’s pretty dense,” Haut said. “Every day is pretty much a new day for them, and sometimes within a day they can’t maintain information they’ve learned.” He added, “Based upon the imaging, I would be surprised if they didn’t have at least some significant memory problems permanently.”
The findings are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
How Can I Protect My Child from Fentanyl? 5 Things Parents Need to Know
Deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids (not including methadone), rose a staggering 72 percent in just one year, from 2014 to 2015. Government agencies and officials of all types are rightly concerned by what some are describing as the third wave of our ongoing opioid epidemic.