‘Magic mush­rooms’ test for dy­ing pa­tients

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

DY­ING pa­tients will be treated with psy­che­delic syn­thetic magic mush­rooms un­der a Mel­bourne med­i­cal trial aim­ing to ease paralysing anx­i­ety felt by many pal­lia­tive care pa­tients.

The mind-bend­ing drugs are hoped to give ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients a new per­spec­tive on their lives, guided by psy­chi­a­trists to re­move the fear which takes over many peo­ple’s fi­nal months.

The St Vin­cent’s Hos­pi­tal trial has taken more than a year to gain ap­proval by ethics com­mit­tees as well as fed­eral and state au­thor­i­ties, but will see the first of 30 pa­tients treated from April.

St Vin­cent’s clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Dr Mar­garet Ross said the Mel­bourne study would see pa- tients given a sin­gle dose of psilo­cy­bin, which is so pow­er­ful it can un­lock a sec­tion of pa­tient’s brains to give them an al­tered out­look on their sit­u­a­tion ap­proach­ing death.

“It is a lit­tle bit con­tro­ver­sial be­cause ob­vi­ously we are us­ing a psy­che­delic com­pound and it is a com­pound which is a syn­thetic ver­sion of what is col­lo­qui­ally known as ‘magic mush­rooms’,” Dr Ross said.

“For many peo­ple when they are di­ag­nosed and liv­ing with a ter­mi­nal ill­ness it is ab­so­lutely dev­as­tat­ing.

“Peo­ple can live for months and years in pal­lia­tive care and it is a long time to live with that hang­ing over your head.”

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