Collaboration with Prof Jonathan Bisson, Drs Ben Sessa & Mat Hoskins

This collaboration will investigate the effects of MDMA in patients suffering from chronic treatment-resistant Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Despite the many reports describing the benefits of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, these have never been formally tested in a scanner with a patient population. Our double-blind, placebo controlled trial will use fMRI to investigate the acute effect of MDMA on blood flow to brain areas involved in emotions, particularly fear. It will also investigate whether MDMA allows emotionally overwhelming memories to become more tolerable to recall, as might be expected from our earlier research. Participants will be recruited from the caseload of traumatised veterans attending the University Hospital of Wales Veterans’ Service. This will be the first study to explore the mechanisms of how MDMA might work as a therapeutic agent.