Even Short-Term Recreational Use Of Ecstasy Causes Deficits In Visual Memory

June 17, 2013 · Posted in Risk Factors 

ecstasy pill

German researchers have found that MDMA (ecstasy) users who took more than 10 pills in a one-year period showed deficits in visual memory. Wagner et al. published the study in the journal Addiction in 2012.

In tests where participants were trained to associate certain words with certain images and then recall one in response to the other, those who had taken ecstasy at least ten times the previous year showed deterioration in both their immediate and delayed recall skills.

Given the role of the hippocampus in relational memory, the researchers suspect that there is a relationship between ecstasy use and hippocampal dysfunction.

Editor’s Note: This is the most definitive study on this subject so far because it observed new users before and after they had used ecstasy for at least 10 times in one year (unlike many retrospective studies that observed participants only after they had been using the drug for some time, so it was impossible to know if they had pre-existing memory problems).

Other data in animals and humans suggest that ecstasy burns out the terminals of serotonergic neurons and thus causes brain damage. It now appears this damage to the brain and memory can occur even during short-term or casual ecstasy use.


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