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Long-Term Ecstasy Use Linked to Brain Shrinkage

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People who use Ecstasy for long periods may be risking brain damage, a new study suggests. HealthDay reports that the study looked at brain scans of 10 men in their mid-20s who were long-term Ecstasy users, and compared them with scans of seven men of the same age who had never used the drug. In Ecstasy users, the scans found a 10 percent shrinkage in the volume of the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for long-term memory.

The researchers reported in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry that the data provide preliminary evidence that suggests that Ecstasy users may be prone to damage to the hippocampus from chronic use of the drug. They noted that atrophy of the hippocampus is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s and other diseases of progressive cognitive impairment in older patients.

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