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Daumann J, Fischermann T, Pilatus U, Thron A, Moeller-Hartmann W, Gouzoulis-Mayfrank E. 
“Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in ecstasy (MDMA) users”. 
Neurosci Lett. 2004 May 20;362(2):113-6.
The popular recreational drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) has well-recognized neurotoxic effects upon central serotonergic systems in animal studies. In humans, the use of MDMA has been linked to cognitive problems, particularly to deficits in long-term memory and learning. Recent studies with proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) have reported relatively low levels of the neuronal marker N-acetylaspartate (NAA) in MDMA users, however, these results have been ambiguous. Moreover, the only available 1H MRS study of the hippocampus reported normal findings in a small sample of five MDMA users. In the present study, we compared 13 polyvalent ecstasy users with 13 matched controls. We found no differences between the NAA/creatine/phosphocreatine (Cr) ratios of users and controls in neocortical regions, and only a tendency towards lower NAA/Cr ratios in the left hippocampus of MDMA users. Thus, compared with cognitive deficits, 1H MRS appears to be a less sensitive marker of potential neurotoxic damage in ecstasy users.
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