Assessing the functional significance of ecstasy-related memory deficits using a virtual paradigm

Article


Montgomery, Catharine, Hatton, Nicholas P., Fisk, John E., Ogden, Ruth S. and Jansari, A. 2010. Assessing the functional significance of ecstasy-related memory deficits using a virtual paradigm. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. 25 (4), pp. 318-325.
AuthorsMontgomery, Catharine, Hatton, Nicholas P., Fisk, John E., Ogden, Ruth S. and Jansari, A.
Abstract

Rationale/Objectives: Previous research shows that the use of ecstasy results in working memory and executive impairments in some users. The present study sought to assess the functional significance of such deficits using a virtual reality task. Methods: Twenty-three ecstasy-polydrug users and 26 nonusers were recruited. Individuals completed a drug use questionnaire measures of sleep quality and fluid intelligence. Participants also completed a virtual reality executive function task in which they play the role of an office worker for the day completing predefined tasks such as prioritising different activities according to their importance, organising the physical office environment and managing the outgoing mail in accordance with a delivery schedule. Results: MANOVA revealed that ecstasy users performed worse on the virtual reality task overall, and this was due to poorer performance on the planning and selection subscales. Contrary to expectations, ecstasy-polydrug users performed better on the time-based prospective memory subscale. Indices of ecstasy use were correlated with the planning subscale of the virtual task. Conclusions: The present study provides further support for ecstasy/polydrug related deficits in executive functioning. As it is possible that this task is more ecologically valid and relevant to day-to-day activities of many users, previous research finding null results on executive function tasks may have underestimated the impact of ecstasy-polydrug use on executive functioning.

Keywordsecstasy; MDMA; cannabis; cocaine; executive function; polydrug; virtual reality
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental
Journal citation25 (4), pp. 318-325
ISSN0885-6222
1099-1077
Year2010
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hup.1119
http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1092
Publication dates
PrintJun 2010
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Dec 2010
Additional information

Citation:
Montgomery, C., Hatton, N.P., Fisk, J.E., Ogden, R.S., Jansari, A. (2010) ‘Assessing the functional significance of ecstasy-related memory deficits using a virtual paradigm’ Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental 25 (4) pp. 318-325..

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