MEMORY PERFORMANCE IN ABSTINENT 3,4-METHYLENEDIOXYMETHAMPHETAMINE (MDMA, “ECSTASY”) USERS1

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Abstract

Research with animals and humans has suggested that acute and subacute use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA “ecstasy”) may lead to memory impairment. However, research is limited by (1) low power due to small sample sizes, (2) the possible confound of polydrug use, and (3) the failure to consider intelligence as a covariate. The present study compared the memory performance on the Wechsler Memory Scale-III of 26 abstinent (2-wk. minimum) recreational MDMA users with 26 abstinent (2-wk. minimum) recreational polydrug users. Despite significantly greater polydrug use amongst these MDMA users, no significant group differences in memory were observed. Regression of total lifetime amount of MDMA use also did not predict memory performance after accounting for intelligence. In addition, the length of time since abstinence (at least 2 wk.) was not associated with an increase in memory performance. Greater total lifetime cocaine use, rather than total lifetime MDMA use, was significantly associated with greater decrements in General Memory and Delayed Verbal Memory performance.

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