Ecstasy ruins your memory - study
Thu, 26 Jul 2012 11:49a.m.
By 3 News online staff
Using recreational drug ecstasy can ruin both your long and short-term memory in a similar way to Alzheimer's, according to a new study.
Ecstasy, also known as 'E' or MDMA, damages the hippocampus, the area of the brain that oversees memory function and navigation.
"Hippocampal damage is one of the first signs of Alzheimer's disease, resulting in memory loss and disorientation," the study's authors wrote.
The study, published in peer-reviewed journal Addiction, showed using as little as 10 pills a year caused irreversible memory impairment, and most users wouldn't realise anything was wrong until it was too late.
"By measuring the cognitive function of people with no history of ecstasy use and, one year later, identifying those who had used ecstasy at least 10 times and remeasuring their performance, we have been able to start isolating the precise cognitive effects of this drug," says lead researcher Dr Daniel Wagner.
The study had to overcome several obstacles, including the "fact that most MDMA users also use cannabis".
"This study was designed to minimise the methodological limitations of earlier research, in which it was not possible to say whether cognitive impairments seen among ecstasy users were in place before drug use began," says Dr Wagner.
The British government's chief drugs advisor David Nutt was famously fired in 2009 for saying ecstasy use was "no more dangerous than an addiction to horse riding".
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18/10/2012 12:52:05 p.m.
Here is the link to the paper - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03977.x/abstract
So firstly they did not chemically test for what the particpants actually consumed(any one can put anything in pills). Secondly, it was reported that amphetamine use was high amongst the ecstasy group. Thirdy this study was only performed on 23 users, so a very small sample group. Also, there was little washout period after the consumption of the last pill, therefore it could be possible that the brain did not have enough time to recover before tests were performed.
To really show why this news report is heniously misleading is that the user group was found to only lack in one, yes ONE cognitive test, all other memory/cognitive test were similar to controls. The test the esctasy group showed differences in was "immediate and delayed recall of a visual paired associates learning task." Even then, the deficit was only 3%.
Finally, this study constrast with a recent and much larger $1.7million dollar Harvard university study with a larger sample group that showed no cognitive differences between ecstasy users and non users.
Conclusion - To associate this deficit in memory with brain damage, especially as severe alzheimer's disease is far fetched and insulting to ecstasy users. 3news this is a poorly reported news article and your credibility for reporting balanced scientific findings is slipping away fast.
26/07/2012 10:35:05 p.m.
I don't remember that ever being a problem for me. I always had a a great time.
26/07/2012 6:29:28 p.m.
We should take these sort of reports with a grain of salt. There is a lot of emotional nonsense around drug use. It is hard to separate fact from anti-drug propaganda. The dangers in this report may be very real or it could be hyped-up by anti-drug groups determined to prove their viewpoint and reviewed by like minded peers. Ecstasy has something in common with all drugs - it may not be dangerous, then again it might be. There is no argument that heavy drinking will cause serious brain damage. It can happen after a lifetime of drinking or it can start before a person is even born. We accept that danger, but keep other drugs banned. I hope in the future our drug laws are more balanced in terms of actual risk.
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