Heroin causes Alzheimer-like brain damage

By Deborah Condon Researchers have found that young heroin users suffer a level of brain damage similar to that seen in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. The research team from the University of Edinburgh studied the autopsied brains of 34 drug users with a history of opiate abuse - mainly heroin and methadone. Most had died of a drug overdose, but all were HIV negative and had no history of head injuries.They also looked at the autopsied brains of 16 people who had no history of drug abuse or neurological impairment.The average age in both groups was 26 and drug abusers as young as 17 were included.