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Ecstasy use linked to depression

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DUBLIN, Ireland, Sep 08, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- An Irish researcher has warned regular users of the club-drug ecstasy run the risk of depression and anxiety, as well suppressed immune systems.

Speaking at the British Association Festival of Science in Dublin, Dr. Thomas Connor of Trinity College Dublin said ecstasy damages the nerve cells in the brain that produce the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter serotonin, an effect that can last for years and can lead to anxiety and depression.

"It does recover slowly but not in the way it should. There's still damage in the long term," Connor said.

As well, he said the drug has important immuno-suppressive properties that can dampen down the normal functioning of the immune system which has the potential to increase an individual's susceptibility to disease, The Independent reported.

"The drug has traditionally been associated with the rave dance club scene, a crowded environment where teenagers congregate -- optimal for transmitting airborne infection between individuals," he said.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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