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Leshner AI. 
“What should the public be told about the risks of Ecstasy?”. 
JAMA. 2002 Feb 6;287(5):585.
Letter critiquing an earlier report authored by Vastag on the NIDA-sponosred conference on ecstasy held in July, 2001. Judging from the content of Mr Vastag's Medical News & Perspectives article,1 it appears that he missed the big-picture message from the 60 researchers who presented the latest science findings on MDMA methylenedioxymethamphetamine 'ecstasy' at the National Institutes of Health NIH. The overarching message from this international conference with over 500 attendees was that MDMA is quite dangerous both in the short term and in the long term.

There is substantial scientific and clinical evidence to show that MDMA damages brain cells, which may account for the long-lasting behavioral effects that users report, such as memory loss and mood changes. Admittedly, there is still much that is not known about the consequences of using this drug however, the conclusion from this NIH conference is that ecstasy is clearly anything but benign. Because of its stimulant properties MDMA can dangerously increase heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Scientific experts at the conference have confirmed that it damages brain cells, even in occasional users. This is a message that the public needs to hear.

There is no disputing that MDMA use is increasing and that effective prevention messages must be matched with the appropriate population. The NIH will continue to support and disseminate research on this important topic as the science continues to unravel the consequences of this drug.
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