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Ecstasy – long-term effects on the human central nervous system revealed by positron emission tomography

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 January 2018

Jost Obrocki*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital, Hamburg
Ralph Buchert
Affiliation:
Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital, Hamburg
Ole Väterlein
Affiliation:
Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital, Hamburg
Rainer Thomasius
Affiliation:
Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science in Medicine, University Hospital, Hamburg
Wolfgang Beyer
Affiliation:
Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital, Hamburg
Thomas Schiemann
Affiliation:
Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science in Medicine, University Hospital, Hamburg
*
Dr J. Obrocki. University Hospital, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Martinistr. 52. 20246 Hamburg, Germany

Abstract

Background

The main psychotropic agent of the popular illicit drug ecstasy is 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). In the light of animal studies and examinations of human cerebrospinal fluid, MDMA is suspected of causing neurotoxic lesions to the serotonergic system.

Aims

To postulate a relationship between ecstasy use and lasting alterations to the cerebral glucose metabolic rate.

Method

Positron emission tomography (PET) with 2-[18F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) was performed on seven ecstasy users and seven subjects without any known history of illicit drug use. Data were compared for a limited number of brain regions.

Results

By comparison with the control group, the glucose metabolic uptake of the ecstasy user group was altered within the amygdala, hippocampus and Brodmann's area 11

Conclusions

The results suggest the possibility that ecstasy use has lasting effects on central neuronal activity in humans.

Type
Preliminary Report
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

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Footnotes

Declaration of interest

No external funding. No conflict of interest.

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