Showing posts with label mPFC activity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mPFC activity. Show all posts

Friday, January 27, 2012

Could 'Magic' Mushrooms Ease Depression?

Psychedelic mushrooms (see above picture) may point to new ways to treat depression, suggest two small brain imaging studies that seem to show how psilocybin (see right structure) the active ingredient in such mushrooms -affects the brain. 

One study included 30 healthy people who had psilocybin inserted into their blood while magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners measured changes in their brain activity. The scans revealed that psilocybin caused decreased activity in what the researchers described as the brain's "hub" regions -- areas especially well-connected with other areas.

The second study included 10 healthy volunteers and found that psilocybin boosted their recall of personal memories and their emotional well-being for up to two weeks. The researchers said this suggests that psilocybin might prove useful as an adjunct to psychotherapy.
"Psychedelics are thought of as 'mind-expanding' drugs, so it has commonly been assumed that they work by increasing brain activity, but surprisingly, we found that psilocybin actually caused activity to decrease in areas that have the densest connections with other areas," Nutt said....

Researchers lead by Dr.David Nutt, add that result is consistent with earlier finding that psilocybin decreases mPFC activity, as many effective depression treatments do. The effects need to be investigated further and this study was only a small study, and  are interested in exploring psilocybin's potential as a therapeutic tool.....