Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ecstasy Component May Help Researchers Measure Brain Damage From The Drug

Date:
August 16, 2001
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Researchers in Spain have isolated for the first time a by-product of the illicit drug Ecstasy that is believed to cause some of the brain damage associated with the drug. They believe their finding will help them measure, with greater precision, the long-term neurotoxicity of Ecstasy in human users.

Researchers in Spain have isolated for the first time a by-product of the illicit drug Ecstasy that is believed to cause some of the brain damage associated with the drug. They believe their finding will help them measure, with greater precision, the long-term neurotoxicity of Ecstasy in human users.

The report will be published in the September issue of Chemical Research in Toxicology, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

The findings may corroborate speculation that HHMA (3,4 dihydroxymethamphetamine), is at least partially responsible for Ecstasy’s harm to the human brain, according to lead researcher Rafael de la Torre, D.Pharm., of the Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona. Previous study had linked HHMA to many of Ecstasy’s known side effects, but until now researchers had not been able to accurately measure the amounts of HHMA in users.

HHMA is created when Ecstasy (known chemically as MDMA, or 3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is metabolized through the liver. Animal studies have shown Ecstasy to damage the brain’s thought and memory function, but research has indicated that such side effects don’t develop until the drug is metabolized. Accurately measuring the amount and concentration of HHMA in a person’s body can provide new insight into the drug’s effects, including how it is metabolized, and possibly determine its long-term effects, de la Torre said. HHMA does not occur naturally in the body and thus would not be found in a non-user of Ecstasy, he noted.

“This observation concerns not only Ecstasy’s acute effects, but more interestingly, its mid- and long-term neurotoxicity,” de la Torre said. “The detection of HHMA was hampered up to now by problems measuring it in humans, which we have solved.”

The research represents the first validated method for measuring HHMA in body fluids, according to de la Torre. It involved four men who each volunteered to take a 100-milligram dose of Ecstasy and submit blood and urine samples regularly for the following 24 hours. All were described as regular users of the drug. The researchers found nearly identical concentrations of HHMA and MDMA in the samples, establishing HHMA as a likely contributor to conditions associated with Ecstasy use, de la Torre said.

In widespread use since the 1980s, Ecstasy is a stimulant with effects similar to the short-term euphoria and increased alertness claimed by cocaine users, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is considered dangerous, however, since it has been shown to damage nerve cells in the brain critical for thought and memory, NIDA reports. Other experiments show that people who take MDMA score lower on memory tests and that animals have persistent effects from the drug six to seven years after exposure.

The research cited above was funded by the Spanish government and the Spanish National Plan on Drugs in Madrid.

Rafael de la Torre, D. Pharm., is a researcher in the pharmacology research unit at the Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona and a professor of toxicology and pharmacology at the Autonomous University in Barcelona.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Ecstasy Component May Help Researchers Measure Brain Damage From The Drug." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 August 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010814063422.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2001, August 16). Ecstasy Component May Help Researchers Measure Brain Damage From The Drug. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010814063422.htm
American Chemical Society. "Ecstasy Component May Help Researchers Measure Brain Damage From The Drug." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010814063422.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:
from the past week

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