Re: Y is it so? And will sex for fun survive?

Anders Sandberg (
15 Dec 1999 16:14:24 +0100 (Octavio Rojas Diaz) writes:

> (I'll try to get sources and medical data because I'm no expert either) but
> the areas that affect short term memory don't seem to be touched by MDMA
> molecules, although maybe it's metabolites might affect them

This seems to be one of the current theories for MDMA toxicity, I saw some articles in medline where they tried various neuroprotectants to reduce metabolite toxicity (not with much success, if I understood them right). But MDMA doesn't have to be present in the hippocampus to impair its function if it damages the raphe nuclei which sends serotonin there - the brain is obviously rather good at long-range effects.

> I'd wish more research were done on this, it would be interesting to know if
> this is a temporal or permanent effect, and if it only happens with chronic
> use or with ocassional use as well.

At least in rats single doses causes changes.

> It'd be interesting to know if this is an effect caused by MDMA or
> it's analogues like MDA, MDE etc that are commonly found on E pills
> or even sold as E because they have similar effects, I have heard
> that MDA is twice as neurotoxic as MDMA so probably other compounds
> are more neurotoxic or no neurotoxic at all.
> Another theory is that this effect might be caused by the
> adulterants found on E pills like amphetamines or cocaine, or on
> other compounds sold as E like DXM

Since the animal experiments were done using pure MDMA, I think the serotonine impairment is a MDMA (or metabolite) effect rather than due to adulterants.

> Neural networks are a lot like holograms, in that you can remove or
> damage part of them and the built-in redundancy will keep things
> working more or less properly (perhaps with a bit less
> flexibility). Once you get to a certain threshold, however, it gets
> rapidly worse. Think about it like a curve ball; from the batter's
> perspective, the ball goes in a straight line and then suddenly
> darts away, even though it's really making a steady arc.

Sometimes. Neural networks can be robust in some dimensions but not in others. In this case the damage is likely to the relatively few serotonin-producing cells, and they have a much wider effect on the rest of the brain since they modulate activity. So it is not a quation about losing 1% of all neurons, just losing many percent of a few important neurons. Still, the brain is good at adapting, so there are checks and balances too that might help here.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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