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Researchers Looking for Memory Problems in "Ecstasy" Users Come Up Dry (6/01/03)

     In research published this spring in the journal "Cognitive Brain Research" the German government-backed team of Gousoulis-Mayfrank et. al., tested the memory/cognitive performance of heavy and moderate "ecstasy" users vs. non-drug users. The results: Both groups of "ecstasy" users were as mentally sharp as the non-users. In the words of the researchers, "To our surprise, in our study, performance [in the test] revealed no statistically significant group differences[...]" The authors did however note that their tests did not rule out the possibility of impairment in other areas.

     Of interest, brain scans taken while the volunteers underwent memory testing suggested small differences in how the "ecstasy" users were using their brains compared to the non-users, leading the authors to speculate that they may be using "different cognitive strategies." These differences did not correspond to the amount of "ecstasy" individuals had used and may reflect underlying demographic differences between people who seek out psychoactive drugs and those that do not. Journal ref: Cognitive Brain Research vol 16 (2003) pgs. 479-489.