Report of Ecstasy Drug's Great Risks Is Retracted--crossposted

Lance Sherman lancesherman at
Mon Sep 8 10:48:22 EST 2003

Speaking for myself, at least, I would be grateful if this message were not
crossposted to bionet.neuroscience.

I think it would be appropriate and polite to post it in that ng separately,
and if there is little or no reponse, to discontinue posting of similar

"Jasbird" <> wrote in message
news:j3ejlv4lv0plp7ubrehucpfb8dekmsudmk at
> Report of Ecstasy Drug's Great Risks Is Retracted
> A leading scientific journal yesterday retracted a paper it published
> last year saying that one night's typical dose of the drug Ecstasy
> might cause permanent brain damage.
> The monkeys and baboons in the study were not injected with Ecstasy
> but with a powerful amphetamine, said the journal, Science magazine.
> The retraction was submitted by the team at Johns Hopkins University
> School of Medicine that did the study.
> A medical school spokesman called the mistake "unfortunate" but said
> that Dr. George A. Ricaurte, the researcher who made it, was "still a
> faculty member in good standing whose research is solid and
> respected."
> The study, released last Sept. 27, concluded that a dose of Ecstasy a
> partygoer would take in a single night could lead to symptoms
> resembling Parkinson's disease.
> The study was ridiculed at the time by other scientists working with
> the drug, who said the primates must have been injected with huge
> overdoses.
> Two of the 10 primates died of heat stroke, they pointed out, and
> another two were in such distress that they were not given all the
> doses.
> If a typical Ecstasy dose killed 20 percent of those who took it, the
> critics said, no one would use it recreationally.
> In an interview yesterday, Dr. Ricaurte said he realized his mistake
> when he could not reproduce his own results by giving the drug to
> monkeys orally. He then realized that two vials his laboratory bought
> the same day must have been mislabeled: one contained Ecstasy, the
> other d-methamphetamine.
> Dr. Ricaurte's laboratory has received millions of dollars from the
> National Institute on Drug Abuse, and has produced several studies
> concluding that Ecstasy is dangerous. Other scientists accuse him of
> ignoring their studies showing that typical doses do no permanent
> damage.
> At the time Dr. Ricaurte's study was published, it was strongly
> defended against those critics by Dr. Alan I. Leshner, the former head
> of the drug abuse institute, who had just become the chief executive
> officer of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, which
> publishes Science.
> Dr. Leshner had testified before Congress that Ecstasy was dangerous,
> and Dr. Ricaurte's critics accused him of rushing his results into
> print because a bill known as the Anti-Rave Act was before Congress.
> The act would punish club owners who knew that drugs like Ecstasy were
> being used at their dance gatherings.
> Dr. Ricaurte yesterday called that accusation "ludicrous."
> His laboratory made "a simple human error," he said. "We're
> scientists, not politicians."
> Asked why the vials were not checked first, he answered: "We're not
> chemists. We get hundreds of chemicals here. It's not customary to
> check them."

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