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Immune Abuse: Methamphetamine is linked to cardiac damage

Use of the drug methamphetamine can drastically alter the array of immune proteins unleashed in the body, a study of rats shows. The finding may explain some cardiac problems seen in longtime methamphetamine abusers.

Methamphetamine is an inexpensive drug made illegally in home laboratories. It's a strong stimulant that can lead to brain damage.

Methamphetamine use also leads to a racing heartbeat and high blood pressure, which may result in chronic strain and heart injury.

In addition, the drug may cause inflammation in heart arteries, says study coauthor Tobin J. Dickerson, a biochemist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

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