Monday, January 19, 2004
Press Association - January 15, 2004
People who take the recreational drug Ecstasy are at risk of impairing their long-term memory.
Scientists said those who also take cannabis face a "double whammy" of suffering short-term memory loss as well.
An international survey found regular Ecstasy users were 23% more likely to report problems with remembering things than non-users.
Researchers said that until now little had been known about the impact of Ecstasy and other drug use on memory.
Lead researcher Dr Jacqui Rodgers, of Newcastle University, said: "We all know of cases where people have suffered acutely from the use of Ecstasy, such as the teenager Leah Betts, but relatively little is known about the more subtle effects on the increasing number of regular users worldwide."
The study found that those who regularly took Ecstasy were more likely to suffer from mainly long-term memory difficulties.
Those who regularly used cannabis reported up to 20% more memory problems than non-users. Their short-term memory was mainly affected.
Because Ecstasy users were more likely to use other drugs including cannabis the researchers said they were vulnerable to a "time bomb" of memory afflictions in later life.
Results of the study are published in the current edition of the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Hundreds of users and non-drug users took part in the web-based survey which questioned people from the UK, across Europe, the USA, and Australia.
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