Researchers Isolate Ecstasy Component that Causes Brain Damage

Researchers in Spain have isolated the component of ecstasy that seems to cause brain damage, allowing them to measure the long-term damage from the drug in human users. Lead researcher Rafael de Ia Torre of the Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona said that HHMA (3,4 dihydroxymethamphetamine) is partially responsible for ecstasy’s harm to the human brain. Previous research had linked HHMA to many of ecstasy’s known side-effects. Through de Ia Tones findings, researchers will be able to measure the amount and concentration of HHMA in a person’s body and provide new insight into ecstasy. “This observation concerns not only ecstasy’s acute effects, but more interestingly, it’s mid and long-term neurotoxicity,” de Ia Torre said. ‘The detection of HHMA was hampered up to now by problems measuring it in humans, which we have solved.”

Source: author  Rafael de Ia Torre et al. Published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology. Sept 2001.
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