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Ecstasy shrinks brain!!-researchers unveil the secrets of MDMA.

by Medindia Content Team on  August 25, 2001 at 11:33 AM Research News   - G J E 4
Ecstasy shrinks brain!!-researchers unveil the secrets of MDMA.
Drug abuse,has been at its best of raise over the past decade or two and with the increased incidence of consumption of drugs in teens.Researchers at a conference sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse said that the drug known as ecstasy has a negative impact on blood flow to parts of the brain and that the effect can persist for weeks.
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ECSTASY is the name in vogue for the chemical substance methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA.The drug became popular over the past 10 years among young people attending all-night parties known as "raves." The drug creates a sense of euphoria that lasts for several hours.

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Dr. Linda Chang, chair of the medical department at Brookhaven National Laboratory, in Upton, N.Y. after a course of studies found that there is dramatic blood flow changes in parts of their brains and persistent damage due to the drug's effect on the serotonin uptake system.This study was done by comparing the blood flow in the brain using magnetic resonance imaging of their brains of dug users and then comparing them with brain scans of similar aged non-users."The longer a person uses ecstasy, their brain shrinks," said Dr. Linda Chang.

The neurotoxic effects of the drug appear to decrease several areas of brain activity, and long-term use appears to decrease the volume of the brain.

Gaylord Ellison, a researcher with almost 40 years experience studying the neurotoxic effects of amphetamines said that ecstasy degenerates the axons in several areas of the brain.

Dr. Joseph Frascella of NIDA's Division of Treatment Research and Development said that,"The message from these studies is that MDMA does change the brain and it looks like there are functional consequences to these changes". Dr.Frascella in his research in which he compared the brains of MMDA user verses non users using PET scan identified that there is a lasting reduction of serotonin transporters occurred throughout the brain and people who had used MDMA more often lost more serotonin transporters than those who had used the drug less frequently.

The memory impairment found in MDMA users is among the first functional consequences of MDMA-induced damage of serotonin neurons to emerge.And now the question is how long MDMA-induced brain damage persists and the long-term consequences of that damage,for the researchers to investigate in the days to come.

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