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Executive Working Memory Deficits in Abstinent Ecstasy/MDMA Users: A Critical Review

Murphy, PN, Wareing, M, Fisk, JE and Montgomery, C (2009) Executive Working Memory Deficits in Abstinent Ecstasy/MDMA Users: A Critical Review. NEUROPSYCHOBIOLOGY, 60 (3-4). pp. 159-175. ISSN 0302-282X

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Aims: This review examined studies of executive functioning in abstinent ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA) users on tasks which had been empirically mapped onto updating, shifting, inhibition and accessing long-term memory executive processes. Studies of some aspects of visuospatial memory performance were also included because of the investment of executive resources in such tasks. Methods: Thirty-three studies were identified for the review following searches of the Psychinfo and Medline databases. Inclusion criteria were the reporting of new empirical findings from participants drug free at the time of testing, in peer-reviewed journals in the English language. Results: Evidence for ecstasy-related performance deficits was strongest for the updating of verbal material, and for visuospatial memory tasks requiring additional processing beyond storage and retrieval. Such processing suggested that the overall level of executive demand was an important consideration. Executive shifting showed little evidence of ecstasy-related impairment, whilst examination of inhibition and long-term memory access presented an unclear picture. Conclusions: All but one of the studies had a cross-sectional design. Although this is a potential weakness with regard to confounds, the necessity of such designs was acknowledged. Studies were generally aware of the need to control for potential confounds, especially the effects of other drugs, through a mixture of group designs and statistical techniques. It was recommended that future studies of executive functioning in ecstasy users should detail the relationship of the tasks and dependent variables reported to specific executive processes and consider the level of executive demand imposed by such tasks. Copyright (C) 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1103 Clinical Sciences, 1109 Neurosciences, 1702 Cognitive Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RS Pharmacy and materia medica
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: KARGER
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 15 May 2015 11:07
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 14:23
DOI or ID number: 10.1159/000253552
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1098
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