Feeds

Ecstasy doesn't make rave-goers any stupider - official

Going to raves, though...

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Using ecstasy appears to have no effects on "cognitive performance", according to a new study which controls for other factors such as repeated sleep deprivation, dehydration and the possibility of being drunk or drugged while taking intelligence tests.

"Researchers have known for a long time that earlier studies of ecstasy use had problems that later studies should try to correct," says Doctor John Halpern MD, lead boffin* on the study.

"When [the US National Institute on Drug Abuse] decided to fund this project, we saw an opportunity to design a better experiment and advance our knowledge of this drug."

Before testing their group of ecstasy users for "cognitive impairment", Halpern and his colleagues eliminated several sources of potential error in previous studies. As well as the actual pill-poppers, the non-using control group were also apparently "members of the 'rave' subculture and thus repeatedly exposed to sleep and fluid deprivation from all-night dancing - factors that themselves can produce long-lasting cognitive effects".

Then, the participants were tested to make sure they weren't still under the influence of drugs or booze while taking the tests, and those who habitually used other drugs which might erode their cognitive powers were also weeded out. The test subjects were repeatedly tested for drugs and booze to make sure they had told the truth in questionnaires.

All in all, this reduced the numbers from an original 1500 recruits to 52 ecstasy users and 59 ravey non-users. The pill-fanciers showed no appreciable deterioration in cognitive function compared to the hard-partying non-users.

Open and shut then - ecstasy truly is the miracle fun drug with no evil consequences.

"No," says Halpern, bluntly. "Ecstasy consumption is dangerous: illegally-made pills can contain harmful contaminants, there are no warning labels, there is no medical supervision, and in rare cases people are physically harmed and even die from overdosing.

"It is important for drug-abuse information to be accurate, and we hope our report will help upgrade public health messages. But while we found no ominous, concerning risks to cognitive performance, that is quite different from concluding that ecstasy use is 'risk-free'."

Of course, one might speculate that the mental level of a person who can tolerate being "a member of the 'rave' subculture" without the use of powerful mind-altering chemicals may not be exactly the same as that of the general population. Certainly such people seem to be a tiny minority.

It's possible that the users had in fact been dumbed down by their pill-popping to the same reduced level of cognition required to handle ravegoing without drugs.

Those interested and willing to stump up the cash can read the study paper here, published in the journal Addiction. ®

Bootnote

*Halpern is a real doctor and is a professor of Psychiatry, not Psychology. As such we have chosen to give him this honourable title rather than "trick-cyclist" or similar, even though he is operating in the grey area of intelligence testing.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.