Study: Ecstasy Does Not Harm Brain

Originally appearing at Contrasting past results, a new study suggested that the drug ecstasy does not impair mental ability. The study, as reported in the Society for the Study of Addiction to Alcohol and Other Drugs’ Addiction journal, showed no signs of cognitive impairment attributed to use of the drug. Researchers launched the study because of concerns that past research methods were flawed, overstating difference between ecstasy users and non-users. Lead author John Halpern said his team wasn’t the first to point out problems. “When NIDA decided to fund this project, we saw an opportunity to design a better experiment and advance our knowledge of this drug,” he stated in the journal. The UK Guardian reported the study was funded by a $1.8 million grant from the US National Institute on Drug Abuse . Halpren said among problems he wanted to address was that users were taken from the rave culture, dominated by all-night dancing, which could cause sleep and fluid deprivation. Non-users were not taken from this group. He said past studies also didn’t take into account that ecstasy users may have taken other drugs or alcohol that could have caused impairment. He selected users who only took ecstasy. “We even took hair samples of participants to test whether they were telling the truth about their drug and alcohol habits,” Halpern told the Telegraph. Ecstasy, as reported by the Huffington Post , is a drug closely associated with the 1980s and 90s rave scene. Symptoms include euphoria, a heightened sense of intimacy and pleasure and decreased anxiety. Researchers said ecstasy is still dangerous, partly because the pills have no warning labels and may contain harmful contaminants. Fox News Atlanta reports on the results of Dr. John Halpern’s latest study overturning years of faulty research into the cognitive risks of Ecstasy use. Dr. Halpern’s MAPS-supported, government-funded $1.8 million study showed that any cognitive risks involved in long-term Ecstasy use are more likely to be due to other factors than to the drug itself.