Ah, yes, ecstasy: The drug that makes you feel good before you feel really bad.

Turns out there's another reason for E users in this rave capital of the nation to consider sticking with marijuana:

A recent Case Western Reserve University study found that a pregnant mom's ecstasy use could be bad news for the development of a newborn. Not only that, but …

… it appeared to make them have boys more often than not. Really. According to a summary of the study:

Researchers noted a preponderance of male births among women who used ecstasy while pregnant, whereas typically the sex ratio at birth is half and half.

Did you hear that, China?

The data will be published in the latest issue of Neurotoxicology and Teratology. Researchers also found poorer growth and coordination in ecstasy babies. The academics …

… examined the babies' growth and noted any potential delays in cognitive development and attainment of milestones in coordinated movements and gross motor development.

Not good. The researchers looked closely at the infants of 96 ecstasy users in the U.K. and compared them to the newborns of non-drug users.

Lynn T. Singer, a Case Wester pediatrics professor, says:

The potential harmful effects of ecstasy exposure on prenatal and infant development have long been a concern. The drug's negative effects are particularly risky for pregnant women, who may use the drug without being aware of their condition.

Researchers said the MDMA users also faced more “job, health and social problems” than non E users.

The academics think there are “neurochemical effects” of MDMA that do a number on motor functioning and coordinated movement among the newborns:

For example, some ecstasy-exposed infants balanced their heads at a later age than babies that were not exposed to the drug. Others showed delays in eye hand coordination, turning from back to side and being able to sit with support, which could heighten the potential for additional developmental delays later on.

Andy Parrott, professor of psychology at Swansea University in Wales, is not surprised by the findings, given that “ecstasy can deplete the level of serotonin, which is important neurotransmitter for many brain functions, including gross motor control.”

Serotonin plays a key role in brain formation in “early fetal development,” according to Case Western.

The researchers only focused on the first four months of life but they want to continue to track these E babies until 18 months and report back with more findings.

The only good news here, it seems, is that you don't see a lot of pregnant ravers out there.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

LA Weekly