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:5/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Therachat , a smart guided journaling tool for improving ... current state of anxiety in support of National Mental Health Awareness Month. , The ... and benchmarked general anxiety levels as well as identified the top triggers, impact to ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... North America for the scientific development, healthcare training and clinical application of medical ... in becoming certified to perform medical thermal imaging services. , The first new ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... Dr. Kiya ... patients with periodontal plastic surgery treatments, including crown lengthening and gum ... provides these esthetic and functional procedures to help patients improve their oral health, ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... An inventor from Columbia, S.C., ... pen. "My wife’s hand was damaged in a firework accident, so she couldn’t grip ... with manual problems." , He then designed and created a prototype for the HELPEN ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... ... Galena, Alaska, has a population of less than 500 people. But, the little, ... build a nuclear plant by the TOSHIBA Corporation. , In “The Galena Nuclear Project: ... journey to get power to his small town, off the electrical grid. , “We ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2017)... May 4, 2017  Fortuna Fix Inc. (" Fortuna ... the first to eliminate the need for embryonic and fetal ... treat neurodegenerative diseases. Fortuna announced today ... Michael Fehlings , MD, PhD; Father Kevin FitzGerald ... MPH; and Professor James Giordano , PhD. ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... Israel , May 4, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. ... mobile health and big data solutions, today announced that ... A&D Company, and STI Technologies Limited to lower diabetes ... immediately. Through STI,s innoviCares card, which is available throughout ... , DarioHealth customers will be eligible for additional savings ...
(Date:5/3/2017)... ROCKVILLE, Md. , May 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... revenue growth of nine percent next year and ... solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell (HSCT) or ... and donor. Molecular testing technologies are well-suited for this ... healthcare-only market research publisher Kalorama Information. The various ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: