Loud Music Helps Drive Ecstasy Brain Damage

Rat study shows drug's effects last days longer

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 22, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Research with hard-rockin' rats suggests that loud music extends the harmful brain effects of the club drug ecstasy for up to five days.

Researchers in Italy found that an ecstasy-linked dampening of the rats' brain activity lasted long after the rodents were given the drug if they also exposed to music of 95 decibels, the maximum noise intensity permitted by law in Italian nightclubs.

If the rats weren't exposed to loud music, the drug's effects wore off within a day.

During the experiment, the team at the Institute of Neurological Science in Catanzaro monitored the rats' electrocortical activity (EcoG spectrum) using electrodes placed on the rodents' skulls. The EcoG spectrum was recorded from 60 minutes before the rats were given ecstasy and the music began, then again for up to five days after the music had been turned off.

Without music, a low dose (3mg/kg) of ecstasy did not modify the rats' brain activity any more than a dose of saline solution. However, loud music prompted significant changes in the brain activity of rats who received a low dose of the drug.

A high dose (6mg/kg) of ecstasy alone caused a reduction in the rats' brain activity and that effect was enhanced when loud music was played and lasted for up to five days. The brain activity of rats that received a high dose of the drug but were not exposed to loud music returned to normal within a day.

Rats that received saline solution and were exposed to loud music showed no changes in brain activity.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about ecstasy.

SOURCE: BioMed Central, news release, Feb. 15, 2006
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