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Ecstasy research on memory loss with recreational use

By PillMan, Jul 30, 2012 | Updated: Jul 31, 2012 | | |
  1. PillMan
    Ecstasy harms memory with one year of recreational use

    ScienceDaily (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 possible 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."

    Wiley (2012, July 25). Ecstasy harms memory with one year of recreational use. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com* /releases/2012/07/120725200258.htm


  1. usually0
    Why i see how they fixed the errors of their last study, how does the study control other factors. For example, one can imagine it's highly probale that these exstacy users have also alcohol or [erhaps other club drugs like cocaine. The popular mdma social life revolves heavily around partying, which I'm sure without M it is still hard on the brain. Wasn't alcohol shown to cause brain damage too? Maybe it's more long term than a year.

    From what I know, MDMA use usually starts later one's life, like when one is finished highschool. These findings could be overshadowed by people who gave up on school and life, and their memory suffers as a result.

    I think a lot of M is cut too, memory damage could be from the mixture of drugs in these pill cocktails or the other drugs themselves, or by the frequent use of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs while under the influence of MDMA, which may have some unknown interactions with MDMA or other drugs it's been cut with.

    Honestly, I think the only real way to do a study like this, is to manufacture MDMA and give it to a number of people somewhere around 10 or more times a year and see what damage may or may not occur. They can control certain aspects, like those going into secondary education, drug tests to ensure study members aren't using other drugs, or to find out what other drugs they are using, time between doses, purity, dosage amount. Plenty of these factors could have interefered with this study.

    However, I understand the governement would probaly never allow something like what I'm suggesting.
  2. twoiko
    The thing that disappoints me is that the article never mentions that MDMA is a completely different substance than "Ecstasy" in fact it assumed they were the same things at least once...

    This study proves nothing to me because there are so many factors they did not account for, the main one being exactly what was in those pills, the second already mentioned being that they would probably be using different substances in between and even along with the "Ecstasy" pills.
  3. SpatialReason
    If this was based in the US (or anywhere else for that matter), it is a good assumption to make that those "test subjects" were getting pills packed with analogues, and dirty amphetamines/methamphetamine. This is a common occurrence here with the party-goers and "E-tards" to be handed something they have no clue about. In that case, where is the validity? I'd love to see a legal test panel of people selected for lab-grade controlled substance tests. If they do that with GC/MS'd and controlled amounts of MDMA, it might be different. If it still damages a person, then the test is conclusive. Until then, this means nothing as the control variables are wild. This is like blaming cannabis for a violent crime where in fact the drug was laced in and out with PCP. The logical assumptions are easily made, but it is highly invalid due to the obvious fact they are ignoring the minor details that make all the difference.

    Not to mention: staying up all night at the club drinking and partying certainly isn't good for cognitive abilities. I've probably killed a lot more brain cells with Jaegerbombs in combination with club drugs than the club drugs themselves could have ever done. (At least I hope my thinkbox is still good. -_-)
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