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Gray matter changes in chronic heavy cannabis users:

posted 08/10/2020

publication doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000001532.

 a voxel-level study using multivariate pattern analysis approach

Yue-Fen Wu 1Bo Yang


Recent structural MRI studies on gray matter (GM) volumes using group-level mass-univariate statistical analysis suggest that chronic and heavy cannabis exposure may affect brain region-based morphology. In this prospective study, we use a multivariate pattern analysis approach to investigate the voxel-level change of GM densities in chronic heavy cannabis users. Principal component analysis and linear support vector machine are used in this study, resulting in an 88.1% separation between chronic heavy cannabis users (N = 20) and non-cannabis healthy controls (HCs, N = 22) through leave-one-out cross-validation. The model's discriminative pattern showed that GM density decreases in the part of middle frontal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus, inferior temporal gyrus and left occipital lobe in heavy cannabis users with respect to HCs and increases in the part of lentiform nucleus, left cerebellum and right parietal lobe. These results suggest that GM densities alteration has taken place on chronic heavy cannabis users compared with HCs at voxel level.

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