Ecstasy or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a popular drug of abuse. In the animal studies MDMA has been shown to have deleterious effects on the serotonergic neurotransmitter system. Understanding the adverse effects of MDMA on human brain function is of considerable importance owing to the rising number of MDMA users. Various neuroimaging studies have investigated the structural, chemical and functional differences in the brain integrity of chronic MDMA users. Various neurocognitive domains like working memory, episodic memory, semantic memory, visual stimulation, motor function and impulsivity have been compared between chronic MDMA users and nonusers using fMRI. The fMRI studies remain much more sensitive in studying the neurological deficits associated with chronic MDMA use as compared to the cognitive studies alone and therefore they serve as a prelude in our understanding of MDMA induced neurotoxicity. However they still face certain limitations contributing to inconsistency in the results and further research is needed before we can draw definitive conclusions regarding the neurotoxic effects of MDMA.
Keywords: Abstinent, Ecstasy, fMRI, Functional magnetic resonance imaging, MDMA.