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Ecstasy Brain Damage Research Fatally Flawed

Author: Jonty Skrufff (
Saturday, September 13, 2003
The credibility of America's leading ecstasy expert Professor George Ricuarte was virtually destroyed this week, when he admitted testing the wrong drug in his recent study linking ecstasy (MDMA) with brain damage.

The government-sponsored researcher injected monkeys with methamphetamine instead of MDMA during his experiments and conceded his findings were 'completely false'. His mistake (labelled 'a terrible, humiliating blunder' by The Observer) was caused by a 'labelling error', he claimed.

"We're scientists, not chemists, we get hundreds of chemicals here- it's not customary to check them," Ricuarte explained.

Ironically, Ricuarte's research drew immediate flak from other scientists as soon he published his report last November with one leading neuropsychiatrist Charles Grob calling it "the latest in a string of biased studies sponsored by the (US) federal government" (Washington Post).

Rucuarte's report was also challenged in Germany this May, when scientists published the conclusions of their own study, involving a massive selection of long term ecstasy users.

"These results were particularly interesting in that they dramatically contradict an American study done by George Ricuarte (funded by the US government)", said an editorial in the prestigious Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

"This huge discrepancy is both unexplained and troubling, as Ricuarte's claims were used both to justify outlawing ecstasy in the US and as justification for sentencing increases".

'Killer' Ecstasy claim was false- Research suggesting just one Ecstasy tablet could harm humans was based on a laboratory mistake, it has been revealed . . .'
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'The CCLE is pleased to see that Dr. Ricaurte has admitted a major error in his government-sponsored studies on the dangers of MDMA (he used the wrong drug)
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"these studies are so flawed in terms of the technology used that one cannot derive any conclusion from them at all . . .', November 2002
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