bannerHON
img
HONnews
HONnews
img PATIENT / PARTICULIER img PROFESSIONNEL DE SANTE img WEBMESTRE img
img
 
img
HONcode sites
All Web sites
HONselect
News
Conferences
Images

Themes:
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q
R S T U V W X Y Z
Browse archive:
2014: A J J M A M F J
2013: D N O S A

 
  Other news for:
Brain
Street Drugs
Mental Health
 Resources from HONselect
Researchers Discover How 'Magic Mushrooms' Affect the Brain
MRIs showed brain activity that mirrored what's seen in a dream-like state

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

THURSDAY, July 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- When people take the drug known as "magic mushrooms," their brain shows a pattern of activity that is similar to that seen with dreaming, new research reveals.

British scientists pointed out that their findings are consistent with the vivid yet dream-like states often associated with psychedelic drugs, which include LSD and magic mushrooms. By learning how these drugs work, their possible therapeutic uses can be more fully investigated, the study authors suggested.

"What we have done in this research is begin to identify the biological basis of the reported mind expansion associated with psychedelic drugs," Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, from the department of medicine at the Imperial College London, said in a university news release.

"I was fascinated to see similarities between the pattern of brain activity in a psychedelic state and the pattern of brain activity during dream sleep, especially as both involve the primitive areas of the brain linked to emotions and memory," Carhart-Harris said. "Our findings have, for the first time, provided a physical representation for the experience in the brain."

The study involved 15 volunteers. These participants were injected with the psychedelic chemical found in magic mushrooms, known as psilocybin. Using functional MRI brain scans, the researchers examined the effects the chemical had on the volunteers' brains. Brain scans were also performed when the participants were injected with an inactive placebo.

"A good way to understand how the brain works is to perturb the system in a marked and novel way. Psychedelic drugs do precisely this, and so are powerful tools for exploring what happens in the brain when consciousness is profoundly altered," study lead author Dr. Enzo Tagliazucchi, from Goethe University in Germany, said in the news release.

"It is the first time we have used these methods to look at brain imaging data, and it has given some fascinating insight into how psychedelic drugs expand the mind," Tagliazucchi noted.

While on psilocybin, the brain network involved in memory, emotion and states of arousal were more apparent. Several areas of the brain involved in this network became more organized and active at the same time. The researchers noted this pattern of brain activity is similar to the pattern associated with dreaming.

Meanwhile, the participants who were given the drug had less coordination in the brain network linked to people's sense of self and other high-level thinking. These areas of the brain become disorganized and out of synch while under the influence of the chemical, the investigators found.

"We are currently studying the effect of LSD on creative thinking and we will also be looking at the possibility that psilocybin may help alleviate symptoms of depression by allowing patients to change their rigidly pessimistic patterns of thinking," Carhart-Harris said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse provides more information on hallucinogenic drugs.

SOURCE: Imperial College London, news release, July 3, 2014

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=689466

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Brain
Research Personnel
Specialty Chemicals and Products
Affect
Thinking
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
Emotions
Memory
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


Home img About us img MediaCorner img HON newsletter img Site map img Ethical policies img Contact