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Neurocase. 2015;21(3):351-7. doi: 10.1080/13554794.2014.894530. Epub 2014 Mar 10.

Cognitive disorders after sporadic ecstasy use? A case report.

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a Department of Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute , Utrecht University , Utrecht , The Netherlands.


Memory problems and changes in hippocampal structures after chronic ecstasy use are well described in the literature. Cognitive problems after incidental ecstasy use are rare, and the few patients described in case reports returned to their normal cognitive level after a relative short period. FV is a 39-year-old man who used an ecstasy tablet in 2005. This resulted in severe confusion for a few days. The confusion was followed by persistent memory complaints and difficulties orientating in new surroundings. An extensive neuropsychological examination 7 years after the ecstasy use revealed a severe memory disorder. Furthermore, his performance on a virtual reality test of navigation showed serious problems navigating in new surroundings. In comparison with matched control subjects (Bayesian approach for single case studies) his scores were significantly impaired on several subtasks of the navigation test. On a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain bilateral hippocampal atrophy and sclerosis were visible, comparable to previous MRI studies describing hippocampal damage following ecstasy ingestion. This case report describes persistent memory and navigation disorders after sporadic ecstasy use, supported by structural brain abnormalities seen on the MRI scan. These findings revive the debate on whether sporadic ecstasy use can cause persistent cognitive deficits.


cognition; ecstasy; hippocampus; memory; navigation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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