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Deficits of long-term memory in ecstasy users are related to cognitive complexity of the task

Brown, John; McKone, Elinor; Ward, Jeffrey

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Rationale: Despite animal evidence that methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) causes lasting damage in brain regions related to long-term memory, results regarding human memory performance have been variable. This variability may reflect the cognitive complexity of the memory tasks. However, previous studies have tested only a limited range of cognitive complexity. Furthermore, comparisons across different studies are made difficult by regional variations in ecstasy composition and patterns...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorBrown, John
dc.contributor.authorMcKone, Elinor
dc.contributor.authorWard, Jeffrey
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-08T22:09:37Z
dc.identifier.issn0033-3158
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/29114
dc.description.abstractRationale: Despite animal evidence that methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) causes lasting damage in brain regions related to long-term memory, results regarding human memory performance have been variable. This variability may reflect the cognitive complexity of the memory tasks. However, previous studies have tested only a limited range of cognitive complexity. Furthermore, comparisons across different studies are made difficult by regional variations in ecstasy composition and patterns of use. Objectives: The objective of this study is to evaluate ecstasy-related deficits in human verbal memory over a wide range of cognitive complexity using subjects drawn from a single geographical population. Materials and methods: Ecstasy users were compared to non-drug using controls on verbal tasks with low cognitive complexity (stem completion), moderate cognitive complexity (stem-cued recall and word list learning) and high cognitive complexity (California Verbal Learning Test, Verbal Paired Associates and a novel Verbal Triplet Associates test). Where significant differences were found, both groups were also compared to cannabis users. Results: More cognitively complex memory tasks were associated with clearer ecstasy-related deficits than low complexity tasks. In the most cognitively demanding task, ecstasy-related deficits remained even after multiple learning opportunities, whereas the performance of cannabis users approached that of non-drug using controls. Ecstasy users also had weaker deliberate strategy use than both non-drug and cannabis controls. Conclusions: Results were consistent with the proposal that ecstasy-related memory deficits are more reliable on tasks with greater cognitive complexity. This could arise either because such tasks require a greater contribution from the frontal lobe or because they require greater interaction between multiple brain regions.
dc.publisherSpringer
dc.sourcePsychopharmacology
dc.subjectKeywords: cannabis; methamphetamine; adult; amnesia; article; brain region; cannabis addiction; clinical article; controlled study; female; human; long term memory; male; population research; priority journal; substance abuse; United States; verbal memory; word lis Cognitive complexity; Ecstasy; Frontal lobe; MDMA; Memory; Serotonin
dc.titleDeficits of long-term memory in ecstasy users are related to cognitive complexity of the task
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume209
dc.date.issued2010
local.identifier.absfor170101 - Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)
local.identifier.absfor170199 - Psychology not elsewhere classified
local.identifier.ariespublicationf2965xPUB63
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationBrown, John, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationMcKone, Elinor, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationWard, Jeffrey, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue1
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage51
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage67
local.identifier.doi10.1007/s00213-009-1766-2
local.identifier.absseo929999 - Health not elsewhere classified
local.identifier.absseo970117 - Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T08:31:06Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-77649234178
local.identifier.thomsonID000274404000005
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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