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Involvement of Inferior Parietal Lobules in Prospective Memory Impairment during Acute MDMA (Ecstasy) Intoxication: An Event-Related fMRI Study

Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 7.83). 06/2009; 34(7):1641-8. DOI: 10.1038/npp.2008.219
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Prospective memory refers to the realization of delayed intentions. Several studies have shown that 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) users perform worse on measures of prospective memory as compared to nondrug users. Interpretation of these data may be limited because of polydrug use, psychosocial stressors, and increased psychopathology that have been reported in MDMA users. This study was designed to directly assess the pharmacological effect of MDMA on prospective memory and brain activity in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. Twelve recreational MDMA users received MDMA 75 mg and placebo and performed an objective prospective memory task during functional imaging. During prospective memory task performance subjects were engaged in a foreground task that consisted of a simple reaction time to visual stimuli (Go trials) and a prospective task of withholding a response during trials that were part of a dynamic memory set (No go trials). Behavioral data showed that a single dose of MDMA increased prospective memory failures in the No go trials, and that number of prospective memory failures was positively correlated to MDMA concentration in plasma. Functional imaging showed that MDMA decreased BOLD activation during Go trials in the thalamus (left), putamen (left), precuneus (left), and the inferior parietal lobules (bilateral), as compared to placebo. During No go trials, MDMA reduced BOLD deactivation in the inferior parietal lobules (bilateral), as compared to placebo. It is concluded that the loss of deactivation in inferior parietal lobules may account for increments in memory failures observed during MDMA intoxication.

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Available from: Kim P. C. Kuypers, Jan 16, 2015
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    • "Four different lists of words are used for the different test days, which had been matched for abstraction. The Prospective Memory Task (PMT) is a newly developed paradigm (Ramaekers et al., 2009) to examine prospective memory performance in an event-based memory task. The foreground task consists of 240 successive presentations of a letter (A or B) in the centre of a computer screen. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that single doses of MDMA can affect mood and impair memory in humans. The neuropharmacological mechanisms involved in MDMA-induced memory impairment are not clear. Memantine, an NMDA and alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine (ACh) receptor antagonist, was able to reverse MDMA-induced memory impairment in rats. This study investigated whether treatment with memantine can prevent MDMA-induced memory impairment in humans. 15 subjects participated in a double-blind, placebo controlled, within-subject design. Subjects received both pre-treatment (placebo/memantine 20 mg) (T1) and treatment (placebo/MDMA 75 mg) (T2) on separate test days. T1 preceded T2 by 120 minutes. Memory function was assessed 90 minutes after T2 by means of a visual verbal learning task, a prospective memory task, the Sternberg memory test and the abstract visual pattern learning task. Profile of Mood State (POMS) and psychomotor performance were also assessed to control whether MDMA and memantine interactions would selectively pertain to memory or transfer to other domains as well. MDMA significantly impaired performance in the visual verbal learning task and abstract visual pattern learning task. Pre-treatment with memantine did not prevent MDMA-induced memory impairment in these two tasks. Both positive (vigor, arousal, elation) and negative effects (anxiety) were increased by MDMA. The responses were not altered by pretreatment with memantine which had no effect on memory or mood when given alone. These preliminary results suggest that memantine does not reverse MDMA-induced memory impairment and mood in humans.
    Neuropharmacology 03/2014; 87. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.03.008 · 4.82 Impact Factor
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    • "The neurobiological mechanisms underlying these putative effects are, however, poorly understood. There have been a limited number of small-scale functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies on the acute effects of MDMA (Bedi et al., 2009; Ramaekers et al., 2009; Kuypers et al., 2011) and only one that has overt implications for its therapeutic use: reduced amygdala responses to angry faces was observed under MDMA (Bedi et al., 2009), broadly consistent with reduced fear. The positive mood effects of MDMA appear to be mediated by stimulation of the "
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    ABSTRACT: 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a potent monoamine-releaser that is widely used as a recreational drug. Preliminary work has supported the potential of MDMA in psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The neurobiological mechanisms underlying its putative efficacy are, however, poorly understood. Psychotherapy for PTSD usually requires that patients revisit traumatic memories, and it has been argued that this is easier to do under MDMA. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to investigate the effect of MDMA on recollection of favourite and worst autobiographical memories (AMs). Nineteen participants (five females) with previous experience with MDMA performed a blocked AM recollection (AMR) paradigm after ingestion of 100 mg of MDMA-HCl or ascorbic acid (placebo) in a double-blind, repeated-measures design. Memory cues describing participants' AMs were read by them in the scanner. Favourite memories were rated as significantly more vivid, emotionally intense and positive after MDMA than placebo and worst memories were rated as less negative. Functional MRI data from 17 participants showed robust activations to AMs in regions known to be involved in AMR. There was also a significant effect of memory valence: hippocampal regions showed preferential activations to favourite memories and executive regions to worst memories. MDMA augmented activations to favourite memories in the bilateral fusiform gyrus and somatosensory cortex and attenuated activations to worst memories in the left anterior temporal cortex. These findings are consistent with a positive emotional-bias likely mediated by MDMA's pro-monoaminergic pharmacology.
    The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 12/2013; 17(04):1-14. DOI:10.1017/S1461145713001405 · 5.26 Impact Factor
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    • "This prospective memory signal occurred randomly for 1 s in 30 trials during the test. The memory set never exceeded three items at a time (Ramaekers et al., 2009; van Wel et al., 2011). In total, 240 letters were displayed for 3 s with an inter-stimulus interval of 0.5 s. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Ecstasy use is commonly linked with memory deficits in abstinent ecstasy users. Similar impairments are being found during ecstasy intoxication after single doses of ± 3,4 metylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). The concordance of memory impairments during intoxication and abstinence suggests a similar neuropharmacological mechanism underlying acute and chronic memory impairments. The mechanism underlying this impairment is to date not known. We hypothesized that cortisol might play an important role in this mechanism as cortisol, implicated in the regulation of memory performance, can be brought out of balance by stressors like MDMA. Methods In the present study, we aimed to block the MDMA-induced acute memory defect by giving participants a cortisol synthesis inhibitor (metyrapone) together with a single dose of MDMA. Seventeen polydrug MDMA users entered this placebo-controlled within subject study with four treatment conditions. The treatments consisted of MDMA (75 mg) and metyrapone (750 mg), alone and in combination, and double placebo. Pre-treatment with metyrapone or Placebo occurred 1 h prior to MDMA or Placebo administration. Memory performance was tested at peak drug concentrations by means of several memory tests. Cortisol levels were determined in blood and oral fluid; this served as a control measure to see whether manipulations were effective. Results Main findings indicated that whereas treatment with metyrapone blocked the expected MDMA-induced increase in cortisol levels in blood, it did not prevent the MDMA-induced memory deficit from happening. Conclusion We therefore conclude that MDMA-induced increments in cortisol concentrations are not related to MDMA-induced memory impairments.
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