Thursday, January 26, 2012

‘Magic Mushroom Therapy’ Clinical Trials May Begin This Year In U.K.

‘Magic Mushroom Therapy’ Clinical Trials May Begin This Year In U.K.:

pg-8-magic-mush-afp-gettyWe may be just a few years away from going to our neighborhood pharmacies for our monthly supply of medicinal mushrooms. From the Independent:

Magic mushrooms could one day be prescribed for depression after Professor David Nutt, the controversial sacked government drugs advisor, claimed research on healthy volunteers proved what a mistake it was to abandon therapeutic psychedelic drugs more than 50 years ago.

The first clinical trial into magic mushroom therapy could start by the end of the year after two small studies suggested the active chemical, psilocybin, had a profound affect on key regions of the brain.

Professor Nutt’s team, at Imperial College London, hope to test the hallucinogen on depressed patients who have not benefited from antidepressants or behavioural therapy.

Psilocybin would be infused into their bloodstreams before a psychotherapy session, tailored to elicit positive memories. If funding is approved by the Medical Research Council it would represent a major step towards mainstream rehabilitation for such drugs since LSD was banned in 1966.

The first study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involved scanning the brains of 30 people given the drug intravenously to measure changes in blood flow and activity. Unexpectedly, the MRI scans showed the drug caused activity to decrease in hub areas with dense connections to other areas. It disconnected two key hubs: the medial prefrontal cortex, which is hyperactive in people with depression, and the posterior cingulate cortex, thought to play a role in self-awareness.