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Ecstasy Harms Memory With One Year Of Recreational Use

By Sade, Aug 10, 2012 | | |
  1. Sade
    Sci nceDaily (July 25,2012) —There has been significant debate in policy circles about whether governments have over-reacted to ecstasy by issuing warnings against its use and making it illegal. In the UK,David Nutt said ecstasy was less dangerous than horseback riding,which led to him being fired as the government's chief drug advisor. Others have argued that ecstasy is dangerous if you use it a lot,but brief use is safe.

    New research published online July 25 by the scientific journal Addiction, gives some of the first information available on the actual risk of using ecstasy. It shows that even in recreational amounts over a relatively short time period, ecstasy users risk specific memory impairments. Further, as the nature of the impairments may not be immediately obvious to the user, it is possible people wouldn't get the signs that they are being damaged by drug use until it is too late. According to the study, new ecstasy users who took ten or more ecstasy pills over their first year of use showed decreased function of their immediate and short-term memory compared with their pre-ecstasy performance.

    These findings are associated with damage of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that oversees memory function and navigation. Interestingly, hippocampal damage is one of the first signs of Alzheimer's disease, resulting in memory loss and disorientation.

    The study participants took an average of 32 pills each over the course of the year, or about two and a half pills per month. Some participants took as few as ten pills over the year and still showed signs of memory impairments. Lead author Dr. Daniel Wagner says: "This study was designed to minimize the methodological limitations of earlier research, in which it was not possib[bold]le to say whether cognitive impairments seen among ecstasy users were in place before drug use began. By measuring the cognitive function of people with no history of ecstasy use and, one year later, identifying those who had used ecstasy at least ten times and remeasuring their performance, we have been able to start isolating the precise cognitive effects of this drug."



  1. psychedelia
    Really good article! However, I'm still not too concerned with this. These participants were taking pills - it probably wasn't pure MDMA. Besides, an average of 2.5 pills per month? I always thought the golden rule for safe MDMA use was a dose every two to three months, plus antioxidants and other supplements. Since there was no control over polydrug use or what exactly was in the pills, this seems like another typical study of MDMA users. Still, thanks for the information :) I'm always very careful with MDMA... IMO its pretty neurotoxic
  2. avcpl
    were these users also using other drugs? or E only?

    and is the memory loss permanent or does it return after not taking so much or stopping completely?

    any loss happen when the 4x/year Shulgin suggestion is followed?
  3. KitKat84
    The brain is plastic you either use it or lose it. People with brain disorders are able to re train their brains if they know what part of their brain is not working correctly. You can always improve memory with brain training
  4. kwave
    Much of the small scale manufacture uses mercury in the final process. Mercury exposure may lead to Hippocampal degeneration. (Google: mercury + hippocampus). As the article mentions the hippocampus area of the brain is involved in memory formation and its the first area to suffer damage in Alzheimer’s patients.
  5. harm_reducer
    Anyone have the actual journal or have access to it? It nice that a news site wrote about it, but we don't really know anything about the finding without reading the full paper.
  6. corvardus
    Might A prospective study of learning, memory, and executive function in new MDMA users be useful for you?

    It seems to me that the reporting of the article was not of a high quality especially when the memory impairment was highly specific in mode of action(stated as much by SD) but then reported on as if MDMA were a generic memory retarder.

    The article states "No significant differences on the other neuropsychological tests were found." suggesting that "visual paired associates learning" appeared to be the mode of action on memory where MDMA provided a deleterious effect.
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