Ecstasy and Memory Study 01

Study 1

"Impaired cognitive performance in drug free users of recreational ecstasy (MDMA)"

Gouzoulis-Mayfrank E, Daumann J, Tuchtenhagen F, Pelz S, Becker S, Kunert H-J, Fimm B, Sass H (2000) J Neurol Neurosurg psychiatry 68: 179-725

the subjects

Three groups. Matched for age, sex, and education.

1) 28 regular ecstasy users who had either been using the drug at least twice monthly for six months or longer in the last two years, or had used E more than 25 times in the last two years. Excluded were those who regularly used other drugs, or were heavy drinkers. Most smoked cannabis to various degrees. The average total lifetime dose was 93 pills (3.5 per month).

2) 28 people who had never taken ecstasy before, nor any other drugs, and no regular heavy alcohol use

3) 28 people who had never taken ecstasy but did use cannabis matched with the ecstasy group. Again, no drug or heavy alcohol use.

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the tests

various, evaluating simple & complex attention, memory and learning, reaction times, selective visual attention, divided attention, short term memory, word fluency, abstract logical thinking, and general knowledge.

the results

While test results were within normal range, the ecstasy group performed worse than the control groups in more complex tests of attention, memory and learning (especially working short term memory and verbal memory), and in tasks reflecting general intelligence.

Decreasing immediate verbal recall and working memory performance correlated with increasing lifetime doses of Ecstasy.

The study says: "These results raise the concern that ecstasy use, even in typical moderate recreational doses and possibly in conjunction with cannabis use may lead to a subclinical cognitive decline in otherwise healthy young people"

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