June 29, 2022

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Mushroom toxin increases brain connections and treats severe depression

Mushroom toxin increases brain connections and treats severe depression



 

Mushroom toxin increases brain connections and treats severe depression

When it comes to mushrooms , most people will immediately think of delicious food. However, not all mushrooms are non-toxic and edible, and many people are admitted to the hospital every year for ingesting poisonous wild mushrooms.

Not only that, but some mushrooms also contain hallucinogenic toxins that cause colorful dream-like hallucinations, and they contain psilocybin (also called psilocybin) , which can be produced within a few hours of ingestion Audiovisual hallucinations are neurotoxins with hallucinogenic effects.

 

On April 11, 2022, researchers from Imperial College London published a research paper titled: Increased global integration in the brain after psilocybin therapy for depression in the top international medical journal Nature Medicine .

 

The study shows that psilocybin, a hallucinogen that occurs naturally in some hallucinogenic mushrooms, is able to respond to treatment in patients with treatment-resistant depression by increasing functional network connections in the brain .

This mechanism was not observed with the traditional antidepressant drug escitalopram . This result advances our understanding of the pathways underlying treatment-resistant depression.

 

Mushroom toxin increases brain connections and treats severe depression

 

 

Depressed patients often exhibit a ” negative cognitive bias ,” characterized by pessimism, poor cognitive flexibility, rigid thinking, and negative fixation on “self” and the future.

Improvements in depressive symptoms following psilocybin treatment have been reported in at least six different clinical trials , however, the therapeutic mechanisms of psilocybin and related hallucinogens have not been fully explained.


For the study, the research team collected and analyzed brain imaging data from 59 patients from two clinical trials verifying the efficacy of psilocybin treatment.

The first trial enrolled 16 patients with treatment-resistant depression (median age 42.75 years; 25% women) .

Treatment-resistant depression is defined as major depressive disorder in which multiple courses of antidepressants fail to improve depressive symptoms.

The second trial analyzed brain imaging data from 43 patients with major depressive disorder, of whom 22 (median age 44.5 years; 36% women) were on psilocybin and 21 (median age 40.9 years; 29 % were women) using the traditional antidepressant escitalopram and low-dose psilocybin.

 

Mushroom toxin increases brain connections and treats severe depressionpsilocybin

 

 

The research team found that, overall, psilocybin therapy had rapid, impressive, and long-lasting antidepressant effects that were significantly more effective than escitalopram .

Relief of depressive symptoms was significantly associated with increased connectivity in brain functional networks .

The dramatic changes in the structure of these brain modules suggest that the rapid action of psilocybin has a “persistent” effect on brain function. This change was not observed in patients taking escitalopram.

 

 

Mushroom toxin increases brain connections and treats severe depression

 

These observations suggest that psilocybin (and possibly other hallucinogens) has a new mechanism of action that is distinct from traditional antidepressants.

Specifically, psilocybin therapy may help relieve symptoms of depression by liberating rigid brain networks and stimulating coordinated and flexible brain functions that are beneficial to mental health .

 

It should be specially reminded that the research team attached a cautionary note on “self-treatment” :

While these findings are encouraging, previous trials evaluating psilocybin for the treatment of depression have been conducted under controlled clinical conditions, using regulated doses formulated in the laboratory and administered before, during and after administration. , are provided by mental health professionals to provide a lot of psychological support.

People with depression should not attempt to self-treat with psilocybin, as taking hallucinogens or psilocybin without these careful safeguards may not lead to positive outcomes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01744-z

Mushroom toxin increases brain connections and treats severe depression

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