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Researchers Caution That Party Drug Mephedrone May Lead to Memory Loss

Researchers Caution That Party Drug Mephedrone May Lead to Memory Loss

Researchers Caution That Party Drug Mephedrone May Lead to Memory Loss

A new drug mimicking the effects of cocaine and ecstasy is making its way onto party scenes worldwide. Mephedrone or what is sometimes referred to as "MCAT" or "meow meow" is very addictive and may pose serious side effects. A new body of evidence suggests that the drug may result in long-term damage to the brain.

Mephedrone is attracting quite a following. This is due to the fact that it combines feelings of extreme sensitivity like that felt by ecstasy users with the intense high of meth or cocaine. Experts are worried that this toxic combination will lead to high consumption, which has been shown to produce lasting memory problems in rats.

In a study conducted at the University Of Sydney School Of Psychology, lab rats received daily doses of mephedrone over a period of 10 days. One group of rats was examined an hour after exposure and another group was examined several weeks later to determine any lasted effects.

Investigators found that rats ingesting high levels of mephedrone had memory problems that persisted for weeks after the study. An implication, researchers say, that points to permanent brain damage. The finding helps explain why humans using the drug also experienced bouts of memory loss.

Researchers found that rats exposed to mephedrone experienced a sudden surge of the feel good chemical, serotonin while the ability to process dopamine was compromised. This resulted in prolonged exposure to dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain tied to elation and addiction.

Study author, Craig Motbey says the drug delivers a rush that encourages repeat doses to perpetuate the intense high experienced at the onset of consumption.

Motbey says that they can accurately conclude that use of mephedrone has a substantial effect on human cognitive functioning, although researchers still aren’t exactly sure why the impairment occurs. A future implication of the study could be to delve further into the reason for the impairment. Researchers might also examine exposure to different levels of mephedrone to determine if side effects also occur at low doses.


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