In a brand-new study, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers examined the brain scans of individuals after they took psilocybin, the active compound in psychedelic (magic) mushrooms, to see what takes place in the brain when individuals are on psychedelics.
The team focused on a part of the brain known as the claustrum, drawn from the Latin word for “hidden or shut away.” The claustrum is an incredibly thin sheet of neurons deep within the cortex, yet it reaches out to every various other region of the mind.
Its real objective remains “concealed away” also, with scientists speculating about its functions. As an example, Dr. Francis Crick, the British biologist as well as neuroscientist who recommended the dual helix structure of the DNA particle, thought that the claustrum was the seat of consciousness, responsible for awareness and feeling of self.
What is understood is that this region contains a lot of receptors targeted by hallucinogens such as LSD or psilocybin.
To see what happens in the claustrum when individuals get on psychedelics, the researchers contrasted the mind scans of people after they took psilocybin with their scans after taking a placebo.
The scans after psilocybin use showed that the claustrum was less active, indicating the location of the brain believed responsible for setting attention as well as changing tasks is declined when on the medication.
The scientists claim that this connect what individuals report as common results of psychedelic drugs, consisting of feelings of being attached to every little thing and also lowered senses of self or ego.
” Our searchings for move us one step closer to understanding devices underlying how psilocybin works in the mind,” claims Frederick Barrett, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry as well as behavioral scientific researches at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a member of the college’s Center for Psychedelic and also Consciousness Research.
” This will hopefully allow us to better comprehend why it’s an effective therapy for certain psychological problems, which may help us customize therapies to assist people much more.”
As a result of its deep-rooted area in the brain, the claustrum has actually been difficult to access as well as study. In 2014, Barrett and also his coworkers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, developed a technique to identify mind activity in the claustrum using practical magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
In this research study, the scientists utilized fMRI with 15 people and also observed the claustrum brain region after the individuals took either psilocybin or a placebo. They located that psilocybin lowered neural activity in the claustrum by 15% to 30%.
This reduced activity likewise seemed linked to the stronger subjective results of the medicine, such as magical and also psychological experiences. The team also found that psilocybin changed the way that the claustrum interacted with brain areas involved in hearing, focus, decision-making as well as keeping in mind.
With the very thorough imaging of the claustrum given by fMRI, the researchers intend to look at this mysterious brain area in individuals with specific psychological conditions such as anxiety and also substance make use of condition.
The purpose of this research study would certainly be to see what duties, if any, the claustrum plays in these conditions. The team likewise intends to observe the claustrum’s activity when intoxicated of various other psychedelics, such as salvinorin A, a hallucinogen stemmed from a Mexican plant.