Independent inquiry demanded into Ecstasy affair

, second paper also retracted

Robert Walgate(walgate@scienceanalysed.com)
Sep 17, 2003

An editor of the European Journal of Pharmacology, F.P. Nijkamp of Utrecht University, confirmed today that a paper published by George Ricaurte and colleagues last year in the journal would be retracted.

"Dr Ricaurte has recently asked us to retract his paper Europ. J. of Pharmacol. 453, 239-244, 2002, which will be done," said Nijkamp in an e-mail to The Scientist.

Ricaurte and colleagues last week retracted a paper published in Science September 2002, which purported to show that the recreational drug Ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA) had a destructive effect on the dopaminergic neurons of primates' brains, and could therefore predispose takers to Parkinson's disease. The European Journal of Pharmacology paper concerned research in rats, and looked at serotonin receptor densities.

In a separate development, Colin Blakemore, who is to become Chief Executive of the UK's Medical Research Council, wrote yesterday (September 17) to the...

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