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1999 Morgan MDMA Memory Study
Comments
by Dan Perrine
Congenital anomalies after prenatal ecstasy exposure,
by P.R. McElhatton; D.N. Bateman; C. Evans; K.R. Pughe; S.H.L. Thomas
The Lancet Volume 354 (No 9188) October 23 1999




One thing about this study is that the anomalies only reach statistical significance when lumped together. As the authors admit:

"Although this small case series has insufficient statistical power to confirm a causal relation with any particular congenital anomaly, we consider that these initial data are important."

But it would be quite unusual for a single drug to cause such a diverse potpourri of birth defects. Thalidomide, e.g., causes phocomelia; alcohol causes fetal alcohol syndrome; dilantin causes fetal hydantoin syndrome (usually cleft lip or palate). I count about 9 distinct birth anomalies in this list, affecting very different organs. This doesn't rule out the possibility that MDMA causes some of the problems, but it makes it seem less likely. But it would not be surprising if MDMA had an amphetamine-like effect on the embryo. Some animal studies should be done, and it is surprising that none have been published. . . . On the other hand, considering the prevelance of amphetamine as a substitute for genuine MDMA, it would also not be surprising if the cardiac anomalies here reported were due to amphetamine ingestion.