Navigation Links
Study reveals how ecstasy acts on the brain and hints at therapeutic uses
Date:1/17/2014

Brain imaging experiments have revealed for the first time how ecstasy produces feelings of euphoria in users.

Results of the study at Imperial College London, parts of which were televised in Drugs Live on Channel 4 in 2012, have now been published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

The findings hint at ways that ecstasy, or MDMA, might be useful in the treatment of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

MDMA has been a popular recreational drug since the 1980s, but there has been little research on which areas of the brain it affects. The new study is the first to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on resting subjects under its influence.

Twenty-five volunteers underwent brain scans on two occasions, one after taking the drug and one after taking a placebo, without knowing which they had been given.

The results show that MDMA decreases activity in the limbic system a set of structures involved in emotional responses. These effects were stronger in subjects who reported stronger subjective experiences, suggesting that they are related.

Communication between the medial temporal lobe and medial prefrontal cortex, which is involved in emotional control, was reduced. This effect, and the drop in activity in the limbic system, are opposite to patterns seen in patients who suffer from anxiety.

MDMA also increased communication between the amygdala and the hippocampus. Studies on patients with PTSD have found a reduction in communication between these areas.

The project was led by David Nutt, the Edmond J. Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, and Professor Val Curran at UCL.

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris from the Department of Medicine at Imperial, who performed the research, said: "We found that MDMA caused reduced blood flow in regions of the brain linked to emotion and memory. These effects may be related to the feelings of euphoria that people experience on the drug."

Professor Nutt added: "The findings suggest possible clinical uses of MDMA in treating anxiety and PTSD, but we need to be careful about drawing too many conclusions from a study in healthy volunteers. We would have to do studies in patients to see if we find the same effects."

MDMA has been investigated as an adjunct to psychotherapy in the treatment of PTSD, with a recent pilot study in the US reporting positive preliminary results.

As part of the Imperial study, the volunteers were asked to recall their favourite and worst memories while inside the scanner. They rated their favourite memories as more vivid, emotionally intense and positive after MDMA than placebo, and they rated their worst memories less negatively. This was reflected in the way that parts of the brain were activated more or less strongly under MDMA. These results were published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Dr Carhart-Harris said: "In healthy volunteers, MDMA seems to lessen the impact of painful memories. This fits with the idea that it could help patients with PTSD revisit their traumatic experiences in psychotherapy without being overwhelmed by negative emotions, but we need to do studies in PTSD patients to see if the drug affects them in the same way."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sam Wong
sam.wong@imperial.ac.uk
44-207-594-2198
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Study finds troubling relationship between drinking and PTSD symptoms in college students
2. China Laser Equipment Industry Production Capacity to Be 2.77 Times More by 2017 in a New Study at MarketReportsChina.com
3. Study questions anti-cancer mechanisms of drug tested in clinical trials
4. Viral microRNAs responsible for causing AIDS-related cancer, new USC study shows
5. Nashville’s Sulphur Dell Neighborhood Selected As Study Area For 2014 Urban Land Institute Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition
6. Tweaking MRI to track creatine may spot heart problems earlier, Penn Medicine study suggests
7. Global Ostomy Care Industry Trend & 2017 Opportunities Analyzed in New Research Study at MarketReportsOnline.com
8. China Digital Radiography Industry & Global CBCT Market Analysis in a New Research Study Available at DeepResearchReports.com
9. Social media helps users embrace differences and provide support to one another, MU study finds
10. Study: Autophagy predicts which cancer cells live and die when faced with anti-cancer drugs
11. New study shows promise for preventing therapy resistance in tumor cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... Judy Buchanan, co-owner of Serenity ... MD. Judy says, “I am passionate about sharing Reiki as a holistic, complementary ... and challenging time.” , A Certified Medical Reiki™ Master trained by Raven Keys ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... , ... “Vintage and Harvest A Cultivation of Christian Love” is the creation ... North Carolina with his wife, Anna Marie. He and his wife are the proud ... also the author of “Shadow and Substance.” , “Love, the agape kind, is seen ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... In 2016 ... now estimates that there could be four million Zika-related cases in the Americas within ... with numbers of US cases reported per year skyrocketing to an estimated 329,000. Yet, ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... to their communities, 16 more public health departments have been awarded national accreditation ... another 4.5 million people into the expanding network of communities across the nation ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... The IoT ... and WiFi connectivity are making a huge impact on businesses and individual consumers alike. ... estimates the IoT will have a value anywhere from $4 trillion to $11 trillion ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)...  GenomeDx Biosciences today announced that six abstracts featuring ... Cancer Classifier tests will be presented at the 32 ... held March 24 to 28, 2017 in ... Europe,s largest urological event showcasing ... field. The abstract titled "Muscle invasive bladder ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 23, 2017  Provectus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. ... "Company"), a clinical-stage oncology and dermatology biopharmaceutical company, ... Financing Commitment Term Sheet (the "Definitive Financing") it ... of the Company,s stockholders, who are referred to ... a Form 8-K filed with the Securities and ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... March 23, 2017 Mosaic Life Care, based in St. Joseph, ... process across its network of 58 clinics, located in 22 cities, and its flagship ... innovative ways to improve the delivery of health care to its patients, including the ... ... Mosaic Life Care St. Joseph Medical Center ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: