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Fox HC, McLean A, Turner JJD, Parrott AC, Rogers R, Sahakian BJ. 
“Neuropsychological evidence of a relatively selective profile of temporal dysfunction in drug-free MDMA ('ecstasy') polydrug users”. 
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2002;162(2):203-214..

RATIONALE: Experimental evidence has shown that 3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 'ecstasy') can act as a serotonergic neurotoxin in laboratory animals. The serotonin system predominantly innervates frontal and limbic regions of the brain and has been associated with consolidatory learning and mnemonic processes in humans.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to investigate the cognitive neuropsychological profile of drug-free ecstasy users by employing a selection of tasks previously associated with lesion or neurodegenerative damage to the temporal lobe or fronto-striatal regions.

METHODS: The study comprised 40

PARTICIPANTS:20 ecstasy polydrug users and 20 polydrug users who had never taken ecstasy.

RESULTS: Ecstasy users were significantly impaired on a recognition task for complex visual patterns and spatial working memory, as a function of task difficulty rather than systematic search strategy. They also showed a trend towards impairment on several learning paradigms. Ecstasy users remained relatively unimpaired on most measures associated with prefrontal functioning, with the exception of verbal fluency 'letter' generation.CONCLUSIONS: Initial cognitive deficits in ecstasy polydrug users may be more apparent in tasks known to be sensitive to temporal functioning.
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