Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ecstasy Use Depletes Brain's Serotonin Levels

Date:
July 28, 2000
Source:
American Academy Of Neurology
Summary:
Use of the recreational drug Ecstasy causes a severe reduction in the amount of serotonin in the brain, according to a study in the July 25 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

ST. PAUL, MN -- Use of the recreational drug Ecstasy causes a severe reduction in the amount of serotonin in the brain, according to a study in the July 25 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study examined the brain of a 26-year-old man who had died of a drug overdose. He had been using Ecstasy for nine years, and in the last months of his life had also started using cocaine and heroin. His brain was compared to those from autopsies of 11 healthy people.

"The levels of serotonin and another chemical associated with serotonin were 50 to 80 percent lower in the brain of the Ecstasy user," said study author Stephen Kish, PhD, of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada. "This is the first study to show that this drug can deplete the level of serotonin in humans."

Ecstasy, which is known chemically as methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, is structurally related to the hallucinogen mescaline and the stimulant amphetamine. MDMA causes neurons, or nerve cells, to release serotonin, a neurotransmitter that controls mood, pain perception, sleep, appetite and emotions. Ecstasy users report an increased awareness of emotion and a heightened sense of intimacy.

"Some of the behavioral effects of this drug are probably due to the massive release and depletion of serotonin," Kish said. "And the depression that people feel after going off the drug could also be explained by the depletion of serotonin in the brain."

The low levels of serotonin were found in the striatal area of the brain, which plays a key role in coordinating movement. In addition to serotonin, the level of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, also known as 5-HIAA and a major breakdown product of serotonin, was also low in the brain of the Ecstasy user.

"Of course, these findings should be confirmed through additional studies," Kish said. "Conclusions based on a single case can only be tentative."

Researchers confirmed the man's drug use through analysis of his brain, blood and hair. The analysis also confirmed that he had been using cocaine and heroin in the last months of his life. Kish said other research has shown that those drugs do not affect serotonin levels.

The man started using Ecstasy once a month at age 17. His usage increased, and in the last three years of his life he used it four to five nights a week at "rave" clubs, usually including a three-day weekend binge during which he took six to eight tablets. On the day after these binges, his friends said he appeared depressed and had slow speech, movement and reaction time.

Kish said research should also be done to determine whether increasing serotonin levels in people who are going off the drug would help eliminate some of the behavioral problems that occur during withdrawal.

###

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 16,500 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research.

A neurologist is a medical doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its Web site at http://www.aan.com . For online neurological health and wellness information, visit NeuroVista at http://www.aan.com/neurovista .


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy Of Neurology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy Of Neurology. "Ecstasy Use Depletes Brain's Serotonin Levels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/07/000727081324.htm>.
American Academy Of Neurology. (2000, July 28). Ecstasy Use Depletes Brain's Serotonin Levels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/07/000727081324.htm
American Academy Of Neurology. "Ecstasy Use Depletes Brain's Serotonin Levels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/07/000727081324.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins