Club drugs inflict damage similar to traumatic brain injury

By Lunar Loops · Nov 30, 2007 · ·
  1. Lunar Loops
    The following is from
    Club drugs inflict damage similar to traumatic brain injury

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- What do suffering a traumatic brain injury and using club drugs have in common"
    University of Florida researchers say both may trigger a similar chemical chain reaction in the brain, leading to cell death, memory loss and potentially irreversible brain damage.
    A series of studies at UF over the past five years has shown using the popular club drug Ecstasy, also called MDMA, and other forms of methamphetamine lead to the same type of brain changes, cell loss and protein fluctuations in the brain that occur after a person endures a sharp blow to the head, according to findings a UF researcher presented at a Society for Neuroscience conference held in San Diego this month.
    “Using methamphetamine is like inflicting a traumatic brain injury on yourself,” said Firas Kobeissy, a postdoctoral associate in the College of Medicine department of psychiatry. “We found that a lot of brain cells are being injured by these drugs. That’s alarming to society now. People don’t seem to take club drugs as seriously as drugs such as heroin or cocaine.”
    Working with UF researchers Dr. Mark Gold, chief of the division of addiction medicine at UF’s McKnight Brain Institute and one of the country’s leading experts on addiction medicine, and Kevin Wang, director of the UF Center for Neuroproteomics and Biomarkers Research, Kobeissy compared what happened in the brains of rats given large doses of methamphetamine with what happened to those that had suffered a traumatic brain injury.
    The group’s research has already shown how traumatic brain injury affects brain cells in rats. They found similar damage in the rats exposed to methamphetamine. In the brain, club drugs set off a chain of events that injures brain cells. The drugs seem to damage certain proteins in the brain, which causes protein levels to fluctuate. When proteins are damaged, brain cells could die. In addition, as some proteins change under the influence of methamphetamine, they also begin to cause inflammation in the brain, which can be deadly, Kobeissy said.
    Kobeissy and other researchers in Gold’s lab are using novel protein analysis methods to understand how drug abuse alters the brain. Looking specifically at proteins in the rat cortex, UF researchers discovered that about 12 percent of the proteins in this region of the brain showed the same kinds of changes after either methamphetamine use or traumatic brain injury. There are about 30,000 proteins in the brain so such a significant parallel indicates that a similar mechanism is at work after both traumatic brain injury and methamphetamine abuse, Kobeissy said.
    “Sometimes people go to the clubs and take three tablets of Ecstasy or speed,” Kobeissy said. “That may be a toxic dose for them. Toxic effects can be seen for methamphetamine, Ecstasy and traumatic injury in different areas of the brain.”
    About 1.3 million people over the age of 12 reported using methamphetamine in the previous month, according to the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. In 2004, more than 12 million Americans reported having tried the drug, the survey’s findings show.
    People often think the effects of drugs of abuse wear off in the body the same way common medications do, but that may not be the case, Gold said.
    “These data and the previous four years of data suggest some drugs, especially methamphetamine, cause changes that are not readily reversible,” Gold said. “Future research is necessary for us to determine when or if methamphetamine-related brain changes reverse themselves.”
    Gold and Dennis Steindler, director of UF’s McKnight Brain Institute and an expert on stem cells, are planning studies to find out if stem cells can be applied to repair drug-related brain damage.
    UF researchers are also trying to uncover all the various ways drugs damage and kill brain cells. During their protein analysis, researchers discovered that oxidation was damaging some proteins, throwing the molecules chemically off balance.
    “When proteins are oxidized they are not functional,” Kobeissy said. “When proteins are not working, the cell cannot function.”
    Neurologist Dr. Jean Lud Cadet, chief of the molecular neuropsychiatry branch of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said analyzing proteins is important to understanding how drugs such as methamphetamine affect the brain.
    “I think saying the results of methamphetamine abuse are comparable to the results of a traumatic brain injury is a new idea,” Cadet said. “I agree with (the findings). Our own work shows that methamphetamine is pretty toxic to the brains of animals. In humans, imaging studies of patients who use methamphetamine chronically show abnormalities in the brain.
    “Abuse of methamphetamine is very dangerous.”

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  1. x cynic x
    Prohibitionists: 1, Liberals: 0
  2. stoneinfocus
    Getting drunk kills hundreds of millions of brain cells at once. :p It´s like cutting off a slice of your brain everytime you´re getting drunk. (sarcasm incl.)

    Damage is only within the fine-embedded axons, which function seems to be not clear if there´s a maojor functionality of these.

    Anyway, oxidative damage can nearly completely be interrupted by the use of simpkle anti-oxidances like alpha lipiic acid, vitamine e and c, melatonine and thelikes.
  3. entheogensmurf
    “Sometimes people go to the clubs and take three tablets of Ecstasy or speed,” Kobeissy said. “That may be a toxic dose for them.

    I thought we already knew high doses are "toxic." Does anyone think high doses of a powerful stimulant isn't damaging?

    They need to be more specific with doses unless they are saying 90mg is just as damaging as 400mg.
    Teen rushed to hospital with espresso overdose

    A British teenager was rushed to the hospital Wednesday after she drank 14 shots of espresso.

    The Mayo Clinic says heavy caffeine consumption -- more than four to seven cups of coffee -- can make you really, really sick. A severe overdose can cause fatal heart palpitations

    Additionally, they didn't comment on pre/post load of antioxidants and other measures one should be taking.

    This study is almost the same as saying "If football (American wussy football) players didn't gear up they could damage themselves."

    NOTE: *I* think clubbers/users who are taking multiple pills or mixing with other stims/drugs are idiots.
  4. stoneinfocus
    Repeated use is a problem and we all know that heeps of white powder might get your brain or heart arteries to burst, in a negative way, as your dead then.

    But some common sense applied to the toxicity of MDMA being at 2000-3000mg given, 3 pills are not really a danger or a receipt for permanent damage, if one is wise enough and listens to his body and gets some time inbetween the rolling,Ì´m dead sure, that you won´t get a permanent damage of taking 3 pills in a club once, considering it really is, what you excpeted and have a look on your supplements and your well-being.

    And if swim had a damage of one time he rolled, give me more of that, as it felt really good the whole week afterwards, he told me.
  5. Psych0naut
    It's all propaganda bullshit. The "accidental" mix-up of methamphetamine mri scans and MDMA mri scans of monkey brains comes to my mind. Yes, taking loads of stimulants, dancing all night, no fluid intake or even alcohol instead of normal fluid intake, will cause damage and can even be fatal. But it's just ignorant neglecting precautions for safe drug use, unfortunenately most clubbers don't take these precautions, nor even know about them.

    Most if not all damage from dopaminergic stimulants(MDMA, cocaine, (meth)amphetamine) is caused by free radicals. Taking a high dose of anti-oxidants, as mentioned by stoneinfocus, before, during and after stimulant use, together with enough fluid intake, enough sugars when active, and cooling down when in a hot surrounding, one can reduce damage to zero. When taking MDMA, taking a SSRI 6 hours after last intake any possible serotonin related neurotoxicity can be prevented, as well as a hang-over(tuesday dip), and can even lower tolerance. This has all been proven with well documented studies. This is why people should be more informed, because a lot of them don't know this.
  6. AntiAimer
    They already prooved Methampetamine abuse leads to holes in the brain. The famous "This is your brain on MDMA" which was flawed since the substance was Meth and not MDMA and also was given to monkeys(mice, rats w/e) in doses humans would never reach.
  7. SuprSonik

    That's interesting information. If you have the sources for that information handy, would you mind posting them?
  8. entheogensmurf

    Methamphetamine is not MDMA
    Commentary on "Club Drugs Inflict Damage Similar to Traumatic Brain Injury"

    Science Daily, Nov 30, 2007 Despite the headline "Club Drugs Inflict Damage Similar To Traumatic Brain Injury," that recently appeared in Science Daily, the findings the article go on to describe are for methamphetamine, and not MDMA. Contrary to what this article states, MDMA is not a "type of methamphetamine," and while the two drugs share similarities in structure, their actions in the brains of rats and people are different. The difference between the drugs is evident when considering the paper that Ricaurte had to retract after it turned out that he had administered methamphetamine to monkeys instead of MDMA. People taking ecstasy may be unintentionally ingesting methamphetamine, but in no other way are these particular findings applicable to MDMA. Even if the studies described referred to MDMA, the findings refer to discoveries concerning protein markers of oxidative stress. It is not news that oxidative stress is one of the main models explaining neurotoxicity after high or repeated doses of MDMA in nonhuman animals. The researchers presented the data described in this article at a presentation at the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego. As it happens, they have published previous research with MDMA. One of those papers stated that MDMA produced lesser signs of oxidative stress than methamphetamine, and the other study was a study in cells using a dose of MDMA hundreds of times the size of exposure after a typical human dose. There already exists a wealth of studies comparing ecstasy users with non-users, and these studies provide a better measure of real-world effects than rat studies, which are done in this case to study models of oxidative stress. Heavy ecstasy users show problems with memory and decision-making, but no one has compared these problems against those in people with traumatic brain injury.
  9. Psych0naut
    I looked it up and the time one has to take the SSRI after MDMA consumption to prevent serotonine related neurotoxic damage is 4 hours instead of 6. Here is the article.
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