Navigation Links
New study finds no cognitive impairment among ecstasy users

The drug known as ecstasy has been used by 12 million people in the United States alone and millions more worldwide. Past research has suggested that ecstasy users perform worse than nonusers on some tests of mental ability. But there are concerns that the methods used to conduct that research were flawed, and the experiments overstated the cognitive differences between ecstasy users and nonusers.

In response to those concerns, a team of researchers has conducted one of the largest studies ever undertaken to re-examine the cognitive effects of ecstasy, funded by a $1.8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and published today in the journal Addiction. The study was specifically designed to minimize the methodological limitations of earlier research.

In contrast to many prior studies, ecstasy users in the new study showed no signs of cognitive impairment attributable to drug use: ecstasy use did not decrease mental ability.

Lead author John Halpern is quick to point out that this group of researchers is not the first to identify limitations in prior studies of ecstasy users. "Researchers have known for a long time that earlier studies of ecstasy use had problems that later studies should try to correct. When NIDA decided to fund this project, we saw an opportunity to design a better experiment and advance our knowledge of this drug."

The researchers fixed four problems in earlier research on ecstasy. First, the non-users in the experiment were members of the "rave" subculture and thus repeatedly exposed to sleep and fluid deprivation from all-night dancing -- factors that themselves can produce long-lasting cognitive effects.

Second, participants were screened for drug and alcohol use on the day of cognitive testing, to make sure all participants were tested while 'clean'.

Third, the study chose ecstasy users who did not habitually use other drugs that might themselves contribute to cognitive impairment.

Finally, the experiment corrected for the possibility that any cognitive impairment shown by ecstasy users might have been in place before they started using the drug.

The resulting experiment whittled 1500 potential participants down to 52 carefully chosen ecstasy users, whose cognitive function was compared against 59 closely-matched non-users, with tests administered at several stages to make sure participants were telling the truth about their drug and alcohol use.

So does this mean that ecstasy really is the risk-free, hangover-free, miracle drug that lets young ravers and gamers party all weekend without having to pay the price?

Says Halpern, "No. Ecstasy consumption is dangerous: illegally-made pills can contain harmful contaminants, there are no warning labels, there is no medical supervision, and in rare cases people are physically harmed and even die from overdosing. It is important for drug-abuse information to be accurate, and we hope our report will help upgrade public health messages. But while we found no ominous, concerning risks to cognitive performance, that is quite different from concluding that ecstasy use is 'risk-free'."


Contact: Jean O'Reilly

Related medicine news :

1. Obesity, Bum Knees Robbing Seniors of Good Years: Study
2. Playing Hard to Get May Get the Girl, Study Finds
3. Study Suggests Hearing Loss-Dementia Link
4. Energy Drinks May Hurt Kids: Study
5. Grant to study how to stop fumbled handoffs which can lead to medical errors
6. NIH study finds 2 pesticides associated with Parkinsons disease
7. Study finds that electronic fetal heart rate monitoring greatly reduces infant mortality
8. Overweight Kids Who Exercise Improve Thinking, Math Skills: Study
9. No Benefit to Lowering Blood Pressure in Acute Stroke: Study
10. Study looks at getting stroke patients back on their feet
11. Early Birth Risky, Even With Fully Developed Lungs: Study
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a ... new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a ... occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten out of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary ... Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. ... Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of ... verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. ... throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill them. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain ... for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it ... the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Strategic Capital Partners, LLC (SCP) ... obtaining investment capital for emerging technology companies. SCP has delivered investment events ... in more than a million dollars of capital investment for five companies. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... Ontario , June 27, 2016  VMS Rehab ... Company,s Board will take whatever measures required to build ... Company,s stock which is currently listed on the OTC ... Wexler, Company Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing an ... difficult to understand, not only by the Company, but ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) ... developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of grievous ... the closing of its previously announced underwritten public ... the public offering price of $18.75 per share. ... offered by GBT. GBT estimates net proceeds from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy ... of recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies ... with entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a ... "value" of new medicines. The recommendations address ... not appear on the drug label, a prohibition that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: