Ecstasy users report different sleep to matched controls

Current and former ecstasy users report different sleep to matched controls: a web-based questionnaire study

This study sought to test the association between ecstasy use and abnormal sleep.

An anonymous web-based questionnaire containing questions on drug use and sleep was completed by 1035 individuals. From this large sample, a group of 89 ecstasy users were found who reported very little use of other drugs.

This ”ecstasy-only“ group was further divided into two groups of 31 current users and 58 abstinent users. The subjective sleep of current and former ecstasy-only users was compared with that of matched controls. Patients were asked to rate their sleep according to:

1) sleep quality
2) sleep latency
3) night time awakenings
4) total sleep time.

Current ecstasy-only users reported significantly worse sleep quality (P < 0.05) and a greater total sleep time (P < 0.001) than controls. It was inferred that these differences might be due to recovery from the acute effects of the drug. Abstinent ecstasy-only users reported significantly more nighttime awakenings than controls (P < 0.01). These subjective findings are in agreement with the objective findings of previous studies showing persistent sleep abnormalities in ecstasy users.

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Functional Connectivity Measures After Psilocybin Inform a Novel Hypothesis of Early Psychosis

Functional Connectivity Measures After Psilocybin Inform a Novel Hypothesis of Early Psychosis

Psilocybin is a classic psychedelic and a candidate drug model of psychosis. This study measured the effects of psilocybin on resting-state network and thalamocortical functional connectivity (FC) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Fifteen healthy volunteers received intravenous infusions of psilocybin and placebo in 2 task-free resting-state scans.

Primary analyses focused on changes in FC between the default-mode- (DMN) and task-positive network (TPN). Spontaneous activity in the DMN is orthogonal to spontaneous activity in the TPN, and it is well known that these networks support very different functions (ie, the DMN supports introspection, whereas the TPN supports externally focused attention). Here, inde- pendent components and seed-based FC analyses revealed increased DMN-TPN FC and so decreased DMN-TPN orthogonality after psilocybin.

Increased DMN-TPN FC has been found in psychosis and meditatory states, which share some phenomenological similarities with the psychedelic state. Increased DMN-TPN FC has also been observed in sedation, as has decreased thalamocortical FC, but here we found preserved thalamocortical FC after psilocybin. Thus, we propose that thalamocortical FC may be related to arousal, whereas DMN-TPN FC is related to the separateness of internally and externally focused states. We suggest that this orthogonality is compromised in early psychosis, explaining similarities between its phenomenology and that of the psychedelic state and supporting the utility of psilocybin as a model of early psychosis.

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MDMA on subjective and BOLD-fMRI responses to autobiographical memories

The effect of acutely administered MDMA on subjective and BOLD-fMRI responses to favourite and worst autobiographical memories

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: hippo-campal 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.

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