Even infrequent use of the ecstasy drug could have significant negative impact on a part of our memory called prospective memory, Australian research shows.
When we have to remember actions or intentions for the future, such as remembering to take medicine, make a phone call or turn off appliances, we call that prospective memory. It is this part of the memory that could be seriously affected, warns Associate Professor Peter Rendell of the Catholic University (ACU National).
Writing in the journal Psychopharmacology on the study he had undertaken with his colleagues,, Peter Rendell, "We know that ecstasy has a detrimental effect on our general recall of past events (retrospective memory). But it also has a proven impact on our ability to remember regular and one-off tasks which still need to be done."
For the study, Dr. Rendell developed a sophisticated board game called Virtual Week to test different types of prospective memory tasks, such as those needing to be carried out regularly or irregularly, at a set time or in relation to specific event. In all categories, frequent ecstasy users were the worst performers, followed closely by infrequent users. Non-users consistently remembered more of the common tasks they needed to accomplish.
"Ecstasy has a harmful influence on our ability to remember day-to-day tasks. In our study, the average participant was aged between 20 and 22. Their use of ecstasy has severely affected their future," Dr. Rendell added.
Current trends show that ecstasy use often peaks during the holiday party period, especially near New Yeas' Eve. Research has shown more than one million Australians have tried the drug, making it our country's most popular illegal drug after marijuana, with numbers continuing to increase.