Ecstasy might be linked to mental deficits

By Terrapinzflyer · Oct 29, 2009 · ·
  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Ecstasy might be linked to mental deficits

    The drug ecstasy’s lesser-known physical harm is being scrutinized by University of Cincinnati researchers on two fronts with the help of a grant worth more than $400,000.

    Krista Medina, an assistant professor of psychology and Judith Strong, a research associate professor of anesthesiology at UC are co-principal investigators in the study. The research revolves around the drug MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy.

    “We are looking at ecstasy and the brain,” Medina said. “We are more interested in the chronic effects.”

    The National Institutes of Health is funding the project with a two-year, $471,000 grant.

    Medina, who is responsible for the portion of the study regarding the brain and MDMA’s affects, is building on results she gathered from the last three years.

    Results limited to 500 university students in 2007 found 14 percent used the drug sometime in their life while approximately 7 percent did it within the year. Results in 2008 showed the same percentage of the latter.

    Ecstasy itself is unique in that it is both a stimulant and a psychotic drug.
    Serotonin transporters are also potentially affected by use of MDMA.
    Serotonin, while functioning normally in the human body, is partly responsible for sleep, depression and, one of the study’s main focuses, memory.

    In order to map the effects of ecstasy, Medina and Strong are using brain imaging and examining the DNA of subjects.

    Strong’s study will involve genetics and serotonin transporters in the subjects.

    “The idea is, there’s one gene that makes you susceptible to the
    effects of ecstasy,” Strong said. “It’s the genes that make you more susceptible in a certain environment. Most psychiatric drugs deal with [serotonin transports.]”

    Strong emphasized how, like cancer, it is a question of susceptibility and not so much as a cause.

    “With things like hemophilia, if you have the genes, you have the disease,” Strong said. “It’s not genes that produce something like alcoholism – alcohol is involved.”

    The study will begin recruiting former ecstasy users within the week. Altogether, the project will include 150 people with 50 people in three categories: those who took ecstasy, former marijuana users and a control group. The purpose of the former marijuana users is to
    compare any memory loss with those who used MDMA.

    “People that have used [ecstasy] have 10 to 20 times the normal memory deficit,” Medina said. “That’s what’s particularly alarming
    about it.”

    Medina also did studies on effects of alcohol, nicotine and marijuana along with her data collection on MDMA in the past.

    MDMA’s usage in the Cincinnati area, however, is not as prevalent as in some places.

    “MDMA indicators were reported as mixed in the
    Midwestern region,” according to the Community Epidemiology
    Work Group Report published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Inidactions of MDMA use were low to moderate in St. Louis and Cincinnati, but stable in Detroit.

    The members of the control group have already been tested and approximately 30 people of the 50-person groups will have their brains scanned and studied.

    By Gin A. Ando | The News Record

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    Published: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

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  1. salviablue
    A problem that I can see with this study that first comes to mind is, how are they ensuring that the MDMA users did infact use just MDMA? Most people don't know whats in their pills, or at least until after ingestion, and even then its usually speculation.
    Plus for this study to be valid all three groups would not to have done any other kind intoxicating drug (or at the very least not those affecting the seratonergic/dopaminergic system), or at least they would have to ensure that what other drugs they have taken are not prevalent in one group over another.

    Also considering that most people that use one kind of illegal drug will be also using others, is the sample size sufficient, and are they ensuring a good cross section of the drug using population? Also the control group would have to be very carefully screened and be from a good cross section of the population (if they're all fitness freaks, or mensa members etc, may discolour the data somewhat, or professionals that may lie about their drug use, etc...).

    Still it would be interesting to see trends and hard physical evidence/data, even if it may not be that strong for this kind of experiment to draw a valid conlcusion (of the proposed thesis).
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    This was the part that most interested turtle. He may be wrong but he doesn't believe MAPS has ever gotten such gov't gramps (if anyone can find a definitive answer on this it would be appreciated)

    Turtle has heard in the past that in regards to marijuana research there was (is?) a policy not to fund studies on the benefits- only the harms. He wonders if this is the same...
  3. salviablue

    That does seem to be an unusually large amount of money for such a government to dish out on illegal drugs research. That combined with your second sentiment here, may seem to point to the coming of some kind of condemning report, to maybe try and help "batten the hatch" on the positive lime light MDMA seems to be getting lately?
  4. Zentaurus41
    With words like psychotic, Cancer and Disease being used in the news report I can already see where this is going.

    If anything its another biased campaign to make the drug seem evil or dangerous.
    I dont like the idea that they are also trying to say people who like mdma are diseased or that something is wrong with them.
  5. Capita
    They are not saying that at all.. what they mean is that some people with some specific genes are more susceptible to the memory loss effects of mdma just like some people with some specific genes are more likely to become alcoholic or are more likely to have cancer.

    This forum seems to be very biased towards any negative information against drugs and people only seem to hear what they want. I would not write all this information off a b.s as mdma is relatively a new drug and this might be one of the effects you might have to accept if you decide to use the drug. This really is not very new information saying that mdma is neurotoxic if anything this may just confirm suspicions.
  6. Zentaurus41
    Everything is bad for you if you take too much.
    Its just that some drugs are far worse than others.
    As for MDMA being a new drug, well it was first created in 1912.
    The US govermen experimented with it around 1953.
    Then there was little use till the 70s and from there is took off like crazy.
    In a way its much older than LSD and probably just as safe.

    As for MDMA being neurotoxic well there is no strong evidence to prove this and the only evidence that did seemed to be a government screw up that used Meths Amphetamine and not MDMA.

    Maybe i do go off the wall at any negative information on drugs but what do you expect, I completely hate the government and its constant lies.
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