George A. Ricaurte

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George A. Ricaurte
CitizenshipUnited States

George A. Ricaurte /rɪˈkɑːrti/ is a controversial neurology researcher who works at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Department of Neurology. He received his MD from Northwestern University Medical School and his Ph.D. (Pharmacology) from the University of Chicago.

His research focuses on Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. His work centers on amphetamine-type drugs and their potential to damage monoamine neurons in the brain. Dr. Ricaurte is best known for investigating how methamphetamine damages dopamine neurons, and whether MDMA (ecstasy) damages serotonin neurons. The long-term goal of this neurotoxicology research is to help find ways to prevent or retard the progression of Parkinson’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. His work also has implications for substance use disorders.

Ricaurte's retracted article on the neurotoxicity of ecstasy, originally published in Science, has received a great deal of attention. This article was retracted after it was found that the testing materials were switched from MDMA to methamphetamine. It is unknown whether the materials were switched intentionally, whether it was an accident by Ricaurte, or whether the supplier from Research Triangle Park (which was overseen by the DEA) either switched the test materials accidentally or intentionally. All sides deny responsibility and the results of an investigation are still pending.[when?] Rick Doblin, director and founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, suggested after the incident that all Ricaurte's work was politically motivated and should be reevaluated.[1]


  1. ^ "DEA Accedes to Ecstasy Test". Wired. 2 March 2004. Archived from the original on March 18, 2007.

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