June 25, 2007 Research carried out at the University of Hertfordshire (U.K.) has revealed that ecstasy users have significantly impaired memory compared with non-ecstasy users. The research report suggests that the recreational use of ecstasy produces a moderate to large effect on short-term and long-term memory and verbal memory, but not on visual memory. In over three-quarters of ecstasy users, long and short-term verbal memory is below the average of non-ecstasy using controls. Perhaps even more alarming in an era of recreational drug experimentation, the researchers also found that memory impairment was unrelated to the total number of ecstasy tablets consumed.
In a paper entitled Ecstasy (MDMA) and memory function: a meta-analytic update, which will be published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental on Monday 25 June, Professor Keith Laws and Joy Kokkalis from the University’s School of Psychology, analysed memory data from 26 studies involving over 600 ecstasy users.
Dr Laws commented: “To summarise, this meta-analysis confirms that ecstasy users show significantly impaired short-term and long-term memory when compared with non-ecstasy users. The ecstasy users also displayed significantly worse verbal than visual memory. Indeed, their visual memory was relatively normal and seems to be affected more by concurrent cannabis use.”