Sunny, Thrilled, Euphoric, Elated, Ready, Confident, Loving, Exhilarated, Airy, Relaxed... Don't these words make you feel a sense of simple happiness? That is, until you realized what it stands for. STEER CLEAR. Of what..? You may ask. This warning is to steer clear away from the seemingly attractive qualities of the mood-enhancing drug methylenedioxymethamphetamine, better known as MDMA, or 'Ecstacy'.
This article states that Ecstacy causes "No Brain Damage", in absence of sleep-deprivation, drug/alcohol use, or any previous form of cognitive damage. By eliminating the subjects down to 53 cognitively clean users, a better understanding for the effects Ecstacy truly has on the brain was seemingly evident. This study was the first opportunity to get their hands on a better-controlled experiment to gain more knowledge on the drug, trying to falsify the previous urban legends of how Ecstacy literally takes an ice cream scoop size portion out of your brain. Most importantly, this seems to be, to an extent, an extraordinary claim, considering that it also states the drug being "possibly fatal". If this drug has the ability to potentially kill the user, wouldn't it be an indirect form of brain damage if the brain ends up being totally dead anyways? Another reason why it is hard to believe is because we all know people who drink heavily and recreationally use drugs, with no previous cognitive damage, who get sufficient sleep. I have personally seen these types of people take Ecstacy, and their behaviors and reasoning/intelligence seem to diminish every time they ingest the pill.
I will note that these are clearly not regulated drugs made by the government, rather they are street drugs. Street drugs have a significantly higher risk.
An alternate explanation for this research finding could be the most useful evaluational concept of correlation vs. causation. They believe taking out drug/alcohol use, sleep deprivation, and previous cognitive damage were the reasons for some of the brain damage. However, it could be a different third variable determining those who appeared to have brain damage from Ecstacy, such as certain stages of cognitive development. Maybe it affects the younger crowds I have personally seen take the drug because of their less developed brain, but not necessarily the brains of those more fully developed. It is a wide claim for the article to say there is no cause of damage. It would be neat to see this study replicated and controlled in a neater fashion, because they would need a fairly large claim to support such a mind-altering drug. Further studies should follow.