Ecstasy study turns dance floor into lab

By mopsie · Nov 28, 2006 · Updated Nov 5, 2010 · ·
  1. mopsie
    Monday, 27 November 2006

    On the dance floor

    The real-life study found clubbers were using much higher doses of MDMA than lab studies could ever test. The idea of being followed around a nightclub by a researcher bent on taking a blood sample and measuring your temperature may not be your idea of a good time.

    But 'field' studies like this may be the only way to get the full picture of the effects of the drug ecstasy, or MDMA, says University of Adelaide pharmacologist Professor Rod Irvine.

    Irvine, whose unique recreation-setting study of ecstasy was presented at the Australian Health and Medical Research Congress in Melbourne today, says real-life studies of ecstasy paint a very different picture to conventional, controlled, low-dose laboratory studies.

    "I'm not saying that we must go out into clubs and do naturalistic studies and that they're the only things to do, but those sorts of studies must be included in the spectra of what we're doing," he says.

    "People out there will use much higher doses of the drugs than would ever be allowed ethically in a controlled clinical setting.

    "So it gives you the opportunity ... to perhaps pick up data that you could never replicate in a laboratory."

    Taking the lab to the club

    Irvine's study, conducted with the PhD student Kate Morefield, analysed 10 people who took ecstasy in a party setting.

    The subjects, aged around 27, had taken one to five pills.

    Blood samples were collected just before taking the ecstasy and once an hour for the next four hours. Heart rate, temperature and blood pressure was also regularly monitored.

    The study showed that using the drug in a recreational setting produced higher elevations in heart rate, blood pressure and skin temperature than previous laboratory studies had shown.

    The concentration of MDMA, or methylenedioxymethamphetamine, in clubbers' blood also exceeded those reported in clinical research, Irvine says.

    "In recreational settings, individuals experience or tolerate physiological effects of greater magnitude and achieve considerably higher blood concentrations of MDMA ... than those reported in controlled clinical studies," the research, contained in a poster presentation, says.

    Source: ABC Science Online

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  1. Bajeda
    I wonder if any of this is published yet?.... Probably not if he recently presented it, but I'll have to keep an eye out for it.
  2. wellhelm
    I think the most interesting thing about this study is the study itself. That they actually went to a club and studied people. Other then that there is nothing profeound or unexpected that an educated guess could not accomplish. Seems a waste to me. Although its good to get more acurate information out there with proof I guess.
  3. Bajeda

    An educated guess is only part of the scientific process. If you didn't have to go further than that science would be considerably different - and probably much much less effective. Thats why this study is admirable. They found something lacking in how clinical studies looked at ecstasy users and decided to take on the challenge of a field study to confirm their hypothesis. May or may not be a waste depending on the results, but could you think of a better aspect of MDMA use they could have looked at with current legal restraints and the field of research as it is now?
  4. wellhelm
    Fine! I am wrong again Bajeda! Just kidding. I knew I would get some flack for that. I completely agree, I just don't see much in the way of new findings comming from this study.
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