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Vol. 63, No. 1, 2011
Issue release date: November 2010
Neuropsychobiology 2011;63:15–21

Hair MDMA Samples Are Consistent with Reported Ecstasy Use: Findings from a Study Investigating Effects of Ecstasy on Mood and Memory

Scholey A.B. · Owen L. · Gates J. · Rodgers J. · Buchanan T. · Ling J. · Heffernan T. · Swan P. · Stough C. · Parrott A.C.
aBrain Sciences Institute, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia; bNewcastle University and cNorthumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, dWestminster University, London, eKeele University, Keele, and fSwansea University, Swansea, UK

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Aims: Our group has conducted several Internet investigations into the biobehavioural effects of self-reported recreational use of MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or Ecstasy) and other psychosocial drugs. Here we report a new study examining the relationship between self-reported Ecstasy use and traces of MDMA found in hair samples. Methods: In a laboratory setting, 49 undergraduate volunteers performed an Internet-based assessment which included mood scales and the University of East London Drug Use Questionnaire, which asks for history and current drug use. They also provided a hair sample for determination of exposure to MDMA over the previous month. Results: Self-report of Ecstasy use and presence in hair samples were consistent (p < 0.00001). Both subjective and objective measures predicted lower self-reported ratings of happiness and higher self-reported stress. Self-reported Ecstasy use, but not presence in hair, was also associated with decreased tension. Conclusion: Different psychoactive drugs can influence long-term mood and cognition in complex and dynamically interactive ways. Here we have shown a good correspondence between self-report and objective assessment of exposure to MDMA. These data suggest that the Internet has potentially high utility as a useful medium to complement traditional laboratory studies into the sequelae of recreational drug use.

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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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