News of the WeekNeuroscience

Drug Find Could Give Ravers the Jitters

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Science  27 Sep 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5590, pp. 2185-2187
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5590.2185b

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Researchers report on page 2260 that the controversial party drug known as MDMA, or ecstasy, can cause "profound dopaminergic toxicity," possibly explaining some of the drug's reported negative short- and long-term effects. The damage they observed suggests that one all-night "rave" might be enough to induce permanent brain damage and make a person more vulnerable to Parkinson's disease, which is caused by a loss of dopamine-producing neurons.