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Ecstasy related cognitive impairment: evidence from neurocognitive and neuroimaging studies.

[Speaker] Roberts, Carl A:1
[Co-author] Montgomery, Catharine:2
1:University of Liverpool (United Kingdom), 2:Liverpool John Moores University (United Kingdom)

Ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) remains a popular illicit drug despite potential long-term negative consequences associated with repeated use. This presents a major public health concern, given recent increased incidence of MDMA related deaths and increasing tablet strength (>200mg of MDMA in some reports). If MDMA is a selective serotonin neurotoxin in humans, as it is in animals, it would be expected that neurocognitive function subserved by 5-HT rich areas would decline with use. Performance deficits have been reported amongst ecstasy users in working memory, executive function, prospective memory, declarative memory and syllogistic reasoning amongst other neurocognitive sequelae. However reports of exacerbated cognitive decline are not always consistently reported. Recent neuroimaging studies have increased our understanding of how MDMA may alter cognitive function. Here, we review the literature on memory and cognition in ecstasy users and assess the impact of MDMA on brain electrophysiology and haemodynamics.
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