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Elevated impulsivity and impaired decision-making cognition in heavy users of MDMA ("Ecstasy").

Abstract

RATIONALE

In animal studies, the common club drug 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "Ecstasy") consistently caused a prolonged loss of presynaptic serotonergic neurons, and evidence suggests that MDMA consumption may also affect the human serotonergic system. Serotonin (5-HT) has been implicated in the regulation of impulsivity and such executive functions as decision-making cognition. In fact, MDMA users have shown elevated impulsivity in two studies, but little is known about decision making in drug-free MDMA consumers.

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to examine the cognitive neurotoxicity of MDMA with regard to behavioral impulsivity and decision-making cognition.

METHODS

Nineteen male, abstinent, heavy MDMA users; 19 male, abstinent cannabis users; and 19 male, drug-naïve controls were examined with the Matching Familiar Figures Test (MFFT) as well as with a Go/No-Go Task (GNG) for impulsivity and with a Gambling Task (GT) for executive functioning.

RESULTS

MDMA users showed significantly elevated impulsivity in the MFFT Impulsivity score (I-score), but not in commission errors of the GNG, compared with controls. Cannabis users did not yield altered impulsivity compared with controls. In the GT, MDMA users performed significantly worse than cannabis consumers and controls, whereas cannabis users exhibited the same decision-making capacity as controls. In addition, the I-score as well as the decision-making performance was correlated with measures of MDMA intake. The I-score and the decision-making performance were also correlated.

CONCLUSION

These results suggest that heavy use of MDMA may elevate behavioral impulsivity and impair decision-making cognition possibly mediated by a selective impairment of the 5-HT system.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Zurich, Lenggstrasse 31, CH-8008, Zürich, Switzerland. quednow@bli.unizh.ch

    , , , , ,

    Source

    Psychopharmacology 189:4 2007 Jan pg 517-30

    MeSH

    Adult
    Amphetamine-Related Disorders
    Case-Control Studies
    Cognition
    Cognition Disorders
    Decision Making
    Gambling
    Hallucinogens
    Humans
    Impulsive Behavior
    Male
    Marijuana Abuse
    N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine
    Surveys and Questionnaires

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    16425060

    Citation

    Quednow, Boris B., et al. "Elevated Impulsivity and Impaired Decision-making Cognition in Heavy Users of MDMA ("Ecstasy")." Psychopharmacology, vol. 189, no. 4, 2007, pp. 517-30.
    Quednow BB, Kühn KU, Hoppe C, et al. Elevated impulsivity and impaired decision-making cognition in heavy users of MDMA ("Ecstasy"). Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2007;189(4):517-30.
    Quednow, B. B., Kühn, K. U., Hoppe, C., Westheide, J., Maier, W., Daum, I., & Wagner, M. (2007). Elevated impulsivity and impaired decision-making cognition in heavy users of MDMA ("Ecstasy"). Psychopharmacology, 189(4), pp. 517-30.
    Quednow BB, et al. Elevated Impulsivity and Impaired Decision-making Cognition in Heavy Users of MDMA ("Ecstasy"). Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2007;189(4):517-30. PubMed PMID: 16425060.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Elevated impulsivity and impaired decision-making cognition in heavy users of MDMA ("Ecstasy"). AU - Quednow,Boris B, AU - Kühn,Kai-Uwe, AU - Hoppe,Christian, AU - Westheide,Jens, AU - Maier,Wolfgang, AU - Daum,Irene, AU - Wagner,Michael, Y1 - 2006/01/20/ PY - 2005/08/09/received PY - 2005/09/30/accepted PY - 2006/1/21/pubmed PY - 2007/3/3/medline PY - 2006/1/21/entrez SP - 517 EP - 30 JF - Psychopharmacology JO - Psychopharmacology (Berl.) VL - 189 IS - 4 N2 - RATIONALE: In animal studies, the common club drug 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "Ecstasy") consistently caused a prolonged loss of presynaptic serotonergic neurons, and evidence suggests that MDMA consumption may also affect the human serotonergic system. Serotonin (5-HT) has been implicated in the regulation of impulsivity and such executive functions as decision-making cognition. In fact, MDMA users have shown elevated impulsivity in two studies, but little is known about decision making in drug-free MDMA consumers. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the cognitive neurotoxicity of MDMA with regard to behavioral impulsivity and decision-making cognition. METHODS: Nineteen male, abstinent, heavy MDMA users; 19 male, abstinent cannabis users; and 19 male, drug-naïve controls were examined with the Matching Familiar Figures Test (MFFT) as well as with a Go/No-Go Task (GNG) for impulsivity and with a Gambling Task (GT) for executive functioning. RESULTS: MDMA users showed significantly elevated impulsivity in the MFFT Impulsivity score (I-score), but not in commission errors of the GNG, compared with controls. Cannabis users did not yield altered impulsivity compared with controls. In the GT, MDMA users performed significantly worse than cannabis consumers and controls, whereas cannabis users exhibited the same decision-making capacity as controls. In addition, the I-score as well as the decision-making performance was correlated with measures of MDMA intake. The I-score and the decision-making performance were also correlated. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that heavy use of MDMA may elevate behavioral impulsivity and impair decision-making cognition possibly mediated by a selective impairment of the 5-HT system. SN - 0033-3158 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/16425060/Elevated_impulsivity_and_impaired_decision_making_cognition_in_heavy_users_of_MDMA__ L2 - https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-005-0256-4 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -