Magic mushrooms ‘reset’ depressed brain

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The hallucinogen found in magic mushrooms may “reset” the brains of people along with untreatable depression, raising hopes of the future treatment, scans suggest.

The small study gave nineteen patients a single dose of the psychedelic ingredient psilocybin.

1 / 2 of patients ceased to be depressed plus experienced changes in their brain exercise that lasted about five several weeks.

However , the group at Imperial College London states people should not self-medicate.

There has been a series of small studies recommending psilocybin could have a role in major depression by acting as a “lubricant for the mind” that allows people to get away a cycle of depressive signs and symptoms.

But the precise effect it might be having on brain activity had not been known.

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The team at Imperial carried out fMRI brain scans before therapy with psilocybin and then the day right after (when the patients were “sober” again).

The study, published within the journal Scientific Reports , demonstrated psilocybin affected two key parts of the brain.

  • The amygdala – which is heavily involved in the way we process emotions such as fear and anxiety : became less active. The greater the particular reduction, the greater the improvement within reported symptoms.
  • The default-mode system – a collaboration of different mind regions – became more steady after taking psilocybin.

Doctor Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research at Imperial, said the particular depressed brain was being “clammed up” and the psychedelic experience “reset” this.

He told the particular BBC News website: “Patients had been very ready to use this analogy. With no priming they would say, ‘I’ve already been reset, reborn, rebooted’, and one affected person said his brain had been defragged and cleaned up. ”

However , this remains a little study and had no “control” number of healthy people with whom to compare the mind scans.

Further, bigger studies are still needed before psilocybin could be accepted as a treatment with regard to depression.

However , there is absolutely no doubt new approaches to treatment are usually desperately needed.

Prof Mitul Mehta, from the Institute associated with Psychiatry at King’s College Greater london, said: “What is impressive regarding these preliminary findings is that mind changes occurred in the networks we all know are involved in depression, after just a individual dose of psilocybin.

“This provides a clear explanation to now look at the longer-term systems in controlled studies. ”

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