Fourth-year medical student Megan Evans and third-year medical student Aayushi Agarwal from the West Virginia University School of Medicine’s Eastern Campus recently gave a presentation on a unique case of a rare brain condition caused by opioid use at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting held in San Francisco, Calif., from May 20-24.
Evans and Agarwal presented their project titled “Toxic Leukoencephalopathy After ‘Chasing the Dragon’ With a Non-Heroin Opioid.” Agarwal explained that TLE is a rare brain condition characterized by progressive damage to the white matter inside the brain that is commonly caused by substance abuse.
The pair presented a case report on a patient who was diagnosed with TLE after heating and inhaling a non-heroin opioid. They explained that this case was extremely unique because the patient had no history of heroin use and presented cognitive changes rather than the expected motor changes.
“It’s our hope that the research we conducted can be utilized in the fight against the opioid crisis right here in West Virginia,” Evans said.
“I feel very proud to have been able to represent the Eastern Campus and WVU as a whole on the national stage alongside Aayushi,” Evans said. “It is my belief that since the Eastern Campus is located in what is commonly considered an epicenter of the opioid epidemic, that it is our responsibility to report on cases like this one.”
To learn more about the research opportunities available at the School of Medicine, visit medicine.wvu.edu/research.