Friday, July 27, 2012

Ecstacy Use Appears to Impair Memory

The recreational drug 3,4-methylinedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, popularly known as “ecstacy”) appears to impair memory, according to a study in the journal Addiction.

Of 149 MDMA-naive subjects examined at the initial assessment of the study, 109 subjects participated again after 1 year. During this period, 43 subjects did not use any other illicit substance apart from cannabis; 23 subjects used more than 10 MDMA pills. These groups were compared for performance on a neuropsychological test battery that included measures of learning, memory, and frontal executive functions. In addition, a comprehensive number of possibly relevant confounders including age, general intelligence, cannabis use, alcohol use, cigarette use, medical treatment, participation in sports, nutrition, sleep patterns, and subjective well-being was assessed.
 Change scores were compared for the new users and the MDMA-naïve subjects between the initial examination and follow-up. Groups did not differ in any of the potential confounders. However, significant effects of immediate and delayed recall in learning tasks were observed between MDMA users and controls, suggesting serotonergic dysfunction in hippocampal regions as a consequence of MDMA use.

The study, “A prospective study of learning, memory, and executive function in new MDMA users,” is online here. For more information about effects on mental health of ecstacy, see Psychiatric News here.

(Image: Craig Wacter/


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.