Feeds

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

Going to raves, though...

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.