New scans show magic mushrooms ‘reset’ a brain with depression
Researchers at Imprerial College London have conducted a study that found psylocybin helps “reset” the brains of depressed patients. Their intent was to look further how the compound, which is found in magic mushrooms, affects depression by way of fMRI brain scans.
Each member of the nineteen-person test ingested one dose of the psychoactive ingredient, with each one showing, “some decrease in depressive symptoms at one week,” the study said. Additionally, it seemed the experience truly provided some sort of blank slate effect in the brains of participants. “Without any priming they would say, ‘I’ve been reset, reborn, rebooted,’ and one patient said his brain had been defragged and cleaned up,” said Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, the head of psychedelic research the college.
Looking deeper into the MRIs, scientists observed that psylocybin affected two key areas of the brain: number one was the amygdala, which was rendered less active and thus led to reduced depressive feelings, and number two was stabilization of the default-mode network. A psychiatry professor at King’s College London, Dr. Mitul Mehta, advised, “What is impressive about these preliminary findings is that brain changes occurred in the networks we know are involved in depression, after just a single dose of psilocybin.”
Despite the positive results of the study, it wasn’t without its flaws. Primarily, there was no test group to compare the results of the psylocybin trials to. However, increased interest in deeper studies on the matter is certainly accruing.