ТОП 10:

III. Sum up the main points of the article.

IV. Points for discussion.

1. Must drug-addicted be compelled to undergo special medical treatment?

2. Can we wean a person away from taking drugs without medical help?

3. Are helplines useful in the fight against drugs? Do you think teenage addicts take helplines seriously?




One night of ecstasy could cause brain damage

Seven years ago Johns Hopkins neurologist George Ricaurte started a major battle in the war on drugs with a single image – a monkey brain on MDMA, the active ingredient in the drug ecstasy. The brain was shot through with holes where its neurons should have been busy making serotonin. The implications seemed obvious. If ecstasy could eat away at a monkey, it could do the same to us. The National Institute on Drug Abuse promptly put Ricaurte’s brain scans at the core of its anti-ecstasy efforts. At least two groups weren’t so quick to embrace Ricaurte’s results: the club kids who keep the rave scene going and a faction of scientists led by Charles Grob. A UCLA psychiatrist, Grob became Ricaulte’s foil, publicly attacking his experimental efforts, subjects, even the wording of his press releases.

This week the two are at it again. Ricaurte has just published research in the journal Science indicating that one night’s worth of ecstasy also kills the brain cells that produce dopamine, possibly putting even casual users at risk for Parkinson’s disease later in life. Grob’s response? “This just reinforces my concern.” Ricaurte’s new study stimulates the effects of a rave, where partygoers may take several tabs of ecstasy. Injecting monkeys and baboons with small amounts of MDMA three times in nine hours, he produced the same effects he’d seen in his original study, which used more gradual doses. Ricaurte also found something new: two thirds of the dopamine neurons has frayed at the ends, possibly because the quick doses had poisoned the brain with too much MDMA at once. Dopamine deficiency is linked to cognitive and psychiatric problems, which may particularly explain why users feel sad and sluggish after a night out. More troubling is the fact that Parkinson’s is caused by the death of those same dopamine-producing neurons. “Obviously you can’t compress 40 years of depletion into a week,” says Ricaurte, noting that in Parkinson’s more than 95 percent of the cells die. But in a few of his drugged-up monkeys, Ricaurte chemically stimulated the decline in dopamine that comes with age. The animals, he says, became “slow.”

If Ricaurte is right, Grob wonders, why don’t more aging ravers have Parkinson’s? “I am aware of only one report of a patient like that, and it’s problematic,” he says. Grob is also frustrated that Ricaurte’s research coincides with the Senate’s impending vote to crack down on rave promoters. “He’s got a lot of money from NIDA and a very high profile,” he says. “What I’ve got are the facts.” But as the beat goes on, it’s not clear if anyone really does.

Mary Carmichael

/Newsweek, October 7, 2002/


Set Work

I. Master the pronunciation of the following words. Learn and translate them.

Neuron, ingredient, dopamine, baboon, psychiatric, stimulate, serotonin.


II. What do the abbreviations above stand for?



III. Explain the meaning of the given lexical units. Reproduce the situations in which they were used.

To eat at sb, to put sth at the core of sb’s efforts, press releases, to fray, drugged-up, raver, rave promoter, a high profile.


IV. Say what is:

a) Parkinson’s disease;

b) dopamine, serotonin;

c) ecstasy.


V. Find in the article the English for:

кампания против «экстази»; подвергать публичным нападкам; любители вечеринок; укрепить чьи-л. тревожные чувства; те, кто принимают наркотики время от времени; медлительный; надвигающийся; начать решающую битву с наркотиками.


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