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Ecstasy may cause memory problems

Club drug's effects documented in new users

By
6:16pm, July 26, 2012

Light use of the club drug Ecstasy may cause subtle memory deficits. People who popped just three Ecstasy tablets a month over the course of a year saw their memory slip on a laboratory test, scientists report online July 25 in Addiction.

The new results offer some of the best evidence yet that the drug can change the brain, says psychiatric neuroscientist Ronald Cowan of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. “It’s been very, very difficult to convince people that there’s a causative effect of the drug,” he says. “This adds strong evidence to that.”

Scientists debate whether Ecstasy, a drug that brings euphoria, boundless energy and heightened sensory experiences, can actually harm the brain in part by screwing with cells that produce the chemical messenger serotonin. Past studies have been notoriously hard to interpret because brain differences seen between Ecstasy users and nonusers could have existed lon

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