Feeds

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

Going to raves, though...

Security for virtualized datacentres

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.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight
Will Vulture 2 freeze at altitude? Edge Research Lab to find out
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.