Mind-al­ter­ing mush­rooms can ‘re­boot’ brain to treat de­pres­sion

Irish Independent - - News - John von Rad­owitz

‘MAGIC’ mush­rooms can treat de­pres­sion by “re­boot­ing” the brain, re­search sug­gests.

Sci­en­tists tested the drug psilo­cy­bin, found in the mush­rooms, on 19 de­pressed pa­tients who could not be helped by con­ven­tional treat­ments.

The pa­tients re­ported an im­me­di­ate mood im­prove­ment de­scribed as an “afterglow ef­fect” that lasted up to five weeks. Brain scans in­di­cated the drug had re­set the ac­tiv­ity of key neu­ral cir­cuits known to play a role in de­pres­sion.

Dr Robin Carhart-Har­ris, head of psy­che­delic re­search at Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don, said: “Sev­eral of our pa­tients de­scribed feel­ing ‘re­set’ af­ter the treat­ment and of­ten used com­puter analo­gies. For ex­am­ple, one said he felt like his brain had been ‘de­fragged’ like a com­puter hard drive, and an­other said he felt ‘re­booted’.”

The drug may be giv­ing pa­tients the “kick-start” they need to break out of their de­pres­sion, he said. Magic mush­rooms con­tain­ing psilo­cy­bin can cause hal­lu­ci­na­tions, changes in per­cep­tion and an al­tered sense of time. The study was re­ported in the jour­nal ‘Sci­en­tific Re­ports’.

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