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Study Claims Ecstasy Does Not Harm The Brain

Study Claims Ecstasy Does Not Harm The Brain

Ecstasy less harmful than first thought?

A new study into the effects of ecstasy on the brain claims that there is no evidence to show that the illegal party drug can lead to brain damage. The results of the study are set to shock those who have long campaigned against the use drug.

Researchers say that previous studies, which claimed that use of the drug was directly linked to cognitive decline, memory loss, and long-lasting effects on behavior, were flawed due to the selective choosing of participants and insufficient data.

The recent study is said to be the largest ever to analyze the effects of the drug, and was set up specifically to gather non-bias results.

Professor John Halpern of Harvard Medical School, the lead researcher who headed the 1.8 million dollar study funded by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, explained that previous studies had typically been drawn from participants who also took other drugs, consumed large amounts of alcohol, and stayed awake all night exposing themselves sleep deprived weekends – all factors known to cause a decrease in cognitive ability as well as memory loss.

ecstasy does not cause brain damage

Ecstasy Does Not Cause Brain Damage

Image Credit: 818ROGELIO818, 2010.

The new study included people who only took ecstasy and had no previous history of mental impairment. Of the 1,500 potential participants only 52 meet the specific requirements needed to conduct a fair study. At the end of the study, all of the participant’s cognitive abilities match those of the 59 non-users in the control group.

Experts who have theorized that ecstasy may not be as harmful as many first though, welcomed the new findings.

Ecstasy – otherwise known as 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA – became popular in the 1980s when it emerged on the rave scene as a party-going enhancer. Since then, the drug has stayed a prominent part of the clubbing culture in many countries across the world, but following several deaths that had apparently been linked to the drug, many western countries made ecstasy illegal.

Nevertheless, experts still warn that the drug is potentially dangerous because illegally made pills often have adulterants that can have harmful side effects.

The study was published in the February edition of the journal Addiction.

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  1. Robin McKie: Ecstasy does not wreck the mind, study claims. The Guardian UK, 02/19/2011.

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