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Dutch study

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Sunday November 5, 2006

Amsterdam- Occasional and moderate abuse of the drugs cannabis and ecstasy does not lead to long-term memory impairment or affect ability to concentrate, according to a study conducted at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. The findings are contained in a doctoral thesis by Gerry Jager, who conducted her research in combination with the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam.

"Occasional use of ecstasy (an average of a total of two pills) or frequent cannabis use (several marijuana cigarettes a week over a period of an average of four years) does not lead to long-term abnormalities in memory or ability to concentrate, or related brain activity," Jager found.

She did, however, note that other studies suggested that "frequent and sustained use of the party drug ecstasy" did hold risks for long- term memory.

Jager studied the long-term effects of ecstasy and cannabis on the brain functions memory and ability to concentrate using functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI).

The neuro-psychologist invited volunteers aged 18 to 35 with experience of drugs to participate.

The study focused on drug users who regularly took amphetamines (speed) or cocaine but only rarely ecstasy. It then compared results from tests on them with findings on regular ecstasy users.

The subjects were required to abstain from drugs for two weeks ahead of the test and alcohol for one week. Compliance was checked through urine and hair samples. They received financial recompense for their cooperation.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency