People taking ecstasy at noisy nightclubs could be doing themselves more harm than those who imbibe 3,4 -methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy) at quieter locations.
Research published on February 16, in the journal BMC Neuroscience, shows that brain activity in MDMA-taking rats due to the drug lasts up to five days if the animals are listening to loud music, says a press release from BMC, when they ingest the drug. The drug’s effects wear off within a day when no music is played.
Actually, Michelangelo Iannone from the Institute of Neurological Science, Italy, and colleagues from University Magna Graecia in Catanzaro, Italy, do not report this at all. That’s just what the press release claims. In fact, the rats were exposed to white noise, random acoustic stimulation at 95 db. The press release explains that white noise is sound at a stable frequency that is used in many types of electronic music. Well, it is, usually to simulate the rythmic, “hissy”, bursts of the hi-hat cymbals in a drumkit, but it’s not usually a continuous sound.
Anyway, Iannone’s results show that low-dose MDMA did not modify the brain activity of the rats compared with saline, as long as no music was played. However, the total spectrum of the rats given a low dose of MDMA significantly decreased once loud music was played. The spectrum of rats in the control group was not modified by loud music. High-dose MDMA induced a reduction in brain activity, compared with both saline and low-dose MDMA. This reduction was enhanced once the loud music was turned on and lasted for up to five days after administration of the drug. In rats that had been given a high dose of MDMA but had not been exposed to music, brain activity returned to normal one day after administration of the drug.