Brain Damage from Ecstasy Drug May Cause Dangerous Sleep Apnea
People who use the drug ecstasy could be putting themselves at higher risk for sleep apnea – a dangerous disorder that causes frequent interrupted breathing during sleep, which is associated with stroke, heart attack and cognitive deficits, according to a study from The John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore that was published in the Dec. 2 online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
About 15 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. In the study at Johns Hopkins, 71 people who had used ecstasy at least 25 times and 62 people who had never used the drug had their breathing and nasal pressure mechanically monitored as they slept. Study participants who used ecstasy were found to have a risk for sleep apnea that was eight times higher than those who didn’t use the drug.
The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, also uncovered that longer the duration of ecstasy use, the higher the sleep apnea risk. In fact, the results indicated that ecstasy use caused an even higher risk than a previously identified risk factor: obesity.
Una McCann, MD, the study’s author, said that the study’s findings may be related to the way ecstasy damages nerves linked to the brain chemical serotonin involved with regulating sleep and breathing.
"Sleep apnea in itself is dangerous, but it can also contribute to thinking problems in people who use ecstasy because chronic sleep disruption is known to have a negative effect on how a person functions during the daytime," says Dr. McCann.
COMMENT: I'm seeing dec 1st as the most recent journal available online :s Will try to remember to look for the full study later- if anyone can find it please upload it to the file archive and put a link to it here.