Ecstasy users' brains show toxic effects

March 8, 2012

Female Ecstasy users show long-lasting signs of toxicity in their brains, an imaging study shows.

The neurotransmitter serotonin, a critical signaling molecule, has roles in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, learning and memory.

In Monday's issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, U.S. researchers used PET scans to look at levels of certain serotonin receptors in different regions of the brain in 15 women who had used Ecstasy compared with 10 who had never taken it.