Attentional processes in abstinent
methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) users

Zakzanis KK, Young DA, Radkhoshnoud NF.
Division of Life Sciences,
University of Toronto, Canada.
Appl Neuropsychol 2002;9(2):84-91


In recent years, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy) has gained great popularity among young adults. Although human research in abstinent users has focused primarily on memory function, little attention has been given to other neuropsychological functions that may have some bearing on memory performance, such as attention. Hence, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of MDMA on attentional processes. Accordingly, 24 MDMA users and 30 matched normal controls were tested on the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) and the Test of Everyday Attention (TEA). We found MDMA users to show generally no significant difference on attention tasks compared with controls with the exception of a single TEA subtest. More interestingly, we found some preliminary evidence to indicate that dosage, in terms of the number of tablets used, may be related to impairment on specific component attentional tasks. This finding brings to light the important relationship between poor attentional processes and drug-taking behaviors and their reciprocal relationship.

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MDMA and immunity
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Ecstasy/MDMA and cannabis
Arginine-vasopressin release
MDMA, loud noise and the heart
Ecstasy and serotonin synthesis
Serotonin, noradrenline and dopamine
MDMA/polydrug users in the UK and Italy

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