Some mild pimpage about the Channel 4 program on MDMA: Drugs Live

So, there’s been a bit of press recently about an upcoming (UK) Channel 4 program called Drugs Live. The show will be broadcast next week, on Wednesday and Thursday (that’s the 26th and 27th of September) at 10pm. The reason I’m mentioning it here is because for the last 9 months or so I’ve been heavily involved in an experiment which has involved MRI-scanning volunteers while they’re under the influence of a dose of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, and this is what the program will substantially focus on. I’ve been a collaborator on the project, helping out with bits of task-programming, scanning and analysis of data, but the real stars are the project leaders Prof. David Nutt, Prof. Val Curran and Dr Robin Carhart-Harris. I do have to admit to a little ‘squee!’ of excitement when I saw this article on the Guardian website (that’s me in the picture! On the left! Squeee!).

So… if you’re in the UK, be sure to tune in next Wednesday/Thursday for the program. There’ll be a live panel discussion hosted by the always interestingly be-socked-and-tied Jon Snow of Channel 4 news, presentation of some of the results from the experiments and ooh… all kinds of other interesting things. Also, there was a fascinating edition of the (always excellent) BBC radio program ‘The Life Scientific) with Jim Al-Khalili interviewing David Nutt, where he talks about the current research at one point; for anyone interested, it’s well worth a listen. Available on the BBC iPlayer here.

For those outside the UK – you may well be out of luck, I’ve no idea if the program will ever be ‘properly’ broadcast anywhere else. Some altruistic soul might record it and put it up on a torrent site I suppose, but I certainly couldn’t endorse anyone downloading it from an illegal source (*cough*).

More UK press:

The BBC

The Mirror

The Metro (Can’t believe something I’m involved in is in the Metro – this is the absolute pinnacle of my scientific career – it’s all downhill from here.)

Wired (This is a cool article with some other fun videos of people taking drugs on camera.)

Mixmag (Yes! Mixmag! Hahahahaha… *dies laughing*)

And for the sake of balance, here’s a fairly negative take from The Evening Standard (Headline ‘Are they raving mad?’ Good one guys. How long did it take you to come up with that?)

And finally, the Channel 4 trailer for the program:

So… Channel 4 are obviously taking it very seriously and not sensationalising it at all. *Sigh* Don’t forget – next Wednesday/Thursday! 10pm! Channel 4! Be there, or be… I dunno… in the pub?

Oh, and if anyone wants to update my IMDB page for me after the program, that’d be great. Ta.

Bye for now, my lovelies *air kiss, flounces off*.

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About Matt Wall

I do brains. BRAINZZZZ.

Posted on September 20, 2012, in Commentary, Neuroimaging and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Wait. Taking Ecstasy is technically illegal in the UK, but if someone were to, say, set up their digital video camera and point it at the telly during the show, then post the resulting video to Youtube and its ilk, that would be technically illegal, too. And it would be a case of two wrongs making a right. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, C4. (Give me a mo, I’ll think of other puns…)

  2. Hi mate, very interesting post. I’ve had several MRI scans – although not on the brain but on cervical and lumbar regions – and wondered if the machine you’re using is as noisy as the ones I’ve experienced? Having a scan is quite an experience in itself, so taking MDMA at the same time must be something else. Do the participants get to listen to music or just the machine 🙂
    I’m a writer rather than scientist, but have been researching drug experiments conducted at the Birmingham Medical School and University (my first university) since the 1950s. There’s a large collection of drug-related materials in the library for accredited researchers. One of the weirder tests was to administer various substances and get the subject to do handwriting under the influence. This was supposedly for forensic benefit so law enforcers had some idea how various drugs ranging from alcohol to LSD affected writing skills. Have you heard of this?

    • Hi there! The machine we use is pretty loud – in fact it’s probably quite a lot noisier than the kind of diagnostic scans you’ve had in hospitals – for research purposes we tend to push the limits of what the MRI scanners can do, to get them acquiring data the maximum amount of data as fast as possible, and that means more noise, vibration, etc. We give our participants ear-plugs, and sound-deadening headphones over the top as well. For the MDMA study we don’t play them any music, but for other studies you can do.
      That library at Birmingham sounds fascinating – is there anything online about it that you know of?
      Thanks for your comment!

      • Hi mate – I’m not sure about the online stuff – let me ask some friends and get back to you.
        Nice to meet you – look forward to chatting and sharing more. Regards, Dave

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