For years, ecstasy (or MDMA) has commonly been thought of as a “safe” drug because previous studies have indicated a link between MDMA and long-term impaired brain functions, but never conclusively proved the connection. That may be about to change.
A new study by psychologist Daniel Wagner at the University of Cologne suggests that ecstasy does, in fact, cause memory loss. One of the reasons this study can be more conclusive is that in the past, researchers had difficulty finding subjects who used MDMA exclusively, but this study was different. “By measuring the cognitive function of people with no history of Ecstasy use and, one year later, identifying those who had used Ecstasy at least 10 times and remeasuring their performance,” Wagner says, “we have been able to start isolating the precise cognitive effects of this drug.”
And researchers discovered that certain functions of memory for these users had degenerated. The study has not yet explored whether these deteriorations were permanent.