The effects of long-term ecstasy use on the electrophysiological indices of short-term and working memory processes in the verbal and visuo-spatial domain

Claire Nulsen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

[Truncated abstract] thesis aimed to determine the effect of long term ecstasy consumption on short-term and working memory in the verbal and visuo-spatial domain. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were employed to shed light on the memory-related cognitive processes affected by ecstasy consumption. Ecstasy is an illicit drug that acts by promoting the release and inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin. Long-term ecstasy consumption has been linked to serotonergic dysfunction which is proposed as the mechanism responsible for persistent cognitive deficits observed in long-term ecstasy users. Numerous cross-sectional studies have shown impaired memory function in longterm ecstasy users and this thesis reports the findings from a meta-analytic review of studies examining verbal and visuo-spatial, short-term and working memory function in long-term ecstasy users. The meta-analysis showed that across the studies reviewed, ecstasy users performed significantly worse than non-ecstasy-using controls on all memory domains. This pattern was found in studies using drug-naive controls and studies using poly-drug controls. Life-time ecstasy consumption (LTEC) predicted the effect size in the working memory studies, but not the short-term memory studies. Higher LTEC was associated with greater impairment in the ecstasy-using group suggesting that the effects of ecstasy on working memory are cumulative and irreversible...
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2010

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