From: Basque Research
Published August 7, 2007 05:49 PM

Ecstasy: High Body Temperature, More Brain Damage, Study Shows

A new study from the University of Navarra, Spain suggests that the brain damage from the drug "Ecstasy" is connected with the body temperature of the drug user. The conclusion: the hotter the drug-user, the more the brain damage.


The research shows a direct relationship between the consumption of Ecstasy when the user is at a high body temperature and an increase in the brain damage. The research was carried out by Beatriz Goñi at the School of Pharmacy of the University of Navarra.


The study was a part of her doctoral dissertation called: "A Study of the Neurotoxicity Mechanism of 3.4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA or 'Ecstasy') after its Administration in Rats: New Responses to Old Questions."


In the study, she was able to relate the body temperature of the drug user with a higher metabolism of the substance. This is a first. She also found that when these two factors occur together can produce malignant hyperthermia -- excessive overheating -- a disorder which can sometimes be fatal.


To study the effects, the Pamplonan pharmaceutical specialist administered the drug to rats at ambient temperatures of 15, 21 and 30 degrees centigrade.


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The study demonstrates that the metabolism of Ecstasy is accelerated by higher ambient body temperatures at the time of ingestion. She also found that the higher ambient temperatures also increase the neurochemical deficit -- the damage -- that affects the brains of the users of this drug.


Higher Risk in Closed Establishments


According to the author of the study the findings are even more relevant because Ecstasy is typically taken in closed environments, with lots of people and poor ventilation, due to which factors the temperature tends to be quite high.


In addition, she notes that the neural damage provoked by this substance, and which originally was only observed in rats, has already been demonstrated in humans, who appear to suffer severe damage to the serotoninergenic neurons, which are involved in processes as basic as sleep, appetite and mood regulation.


Finally, the pharmaceutical specialist noted that the damage caused by the consumption of MDMA is dependent upon its being metabolized after to its ingestion, since if it were administered directly to the brain, neuronal damage would not occur.


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