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Frederick DL, Paule MG. 
“Effects of MDMA on complex brain function in laboratory animals”. 
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1997 Jan;21(1):67-78.
This review surveys experiments that have examined the effects of acute and chronic MDMA exposure on schedule-controlled operant behaviors thought to engender responses that reflect the expression of complex brain functions. Such functions include time estimation, short-term memory, learning, motivation, and color and position discrimination. Recent experiments conducted in the Behavioral Toxicology Laboratory at the National Center for Toxicological Research concerning MDMA's acute and long-term effects on rhesus monkey performance in an operant test battery are compared to previous studies involving the effects of MDMA on operant behaviors. Results of these experiments suggest that when given acutely, MDMA disrupts complex brain functions associated with learning and time estimation more than those associated with short-term memory and visual discrimination, and that behavioral tasks requiring relatively high rates of responding are particularly sensitive to the disruptive effects of MDMA. Repeated exposure to doses of MDMA sufficient to produce long-lasting changes in brain neurotransmitter systems results in residual effects (e.g. tolerance, sensitivity) on behavioral task performance when subjects are subsequently challenged with acute MDMA, whereas baseline (non-challenged) performance of these tasks after such exposure generally remains unchanged. Although the experiments described herein were conducted on a relatively small number of non-human subjects, they raise the possibility that long-term effects on cognitive processes may also occur in humans exposed to repeated or acute high doses of MDMA.
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