via Johns Hopkins University
Perhaps no region of the brain is more fittingly named than the claustrum, taken from the Latin word for “hidden or shut away.” The claustrum is an extremely thin sheet of neurons deep within the cortex, yet it reaches out to every other region of the brain. Its true purpose remains “hidden away” as well, with researchers speculating about many functions. For example, Francis Crick of DNA-discovery fame believed that the claustrum is the seat of consciousness, responsible for awareness and sense of self.
What is known is that this region contains a large number of receptors targeted by psychedelic drugs such as LSD or psilocybin ¾ the hallucinogenic chemical found in certain mushrooms. To see what happens in the claustrum when people are on psychedelics, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers compared the brain 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, meaning the area of the brain believed responsible for setting attention and switching tasks is turned down when on the drug. The researchers say that this ties in with what people report as typical effects of psychedelic drugs, including feelings of being connected to everything and reduced senses of self or ego.
“Our findings move us one step closer to understanding mechanisms underlying how psilocybin works in the brain,” says Frederick Barrett, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a member of the school’s Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. “This will hopefully enable us to better understand why it’s an effective therapy for certain psychiatric disorders, which might help us tailor therapies to help people more.”
Because of its deep-rooted location in the brain, the claustrum has been difficult to access and study. Last year, Barrett and his colleagues at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, developed a method to detect brain activity in the claustrum using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
For this new study, the researchers used fMRI with 15 people and observed the claustrum brain region after the participants took either psilocybin or a placebo. They found that psilocybin reduced neural activity in the claustrum by 15% to 30%. This lowered activity also appeared to be associated with stronger subjective effects of the drug, such as emotional and mystical experiences. The researchers also found that psilocybin changed the way that the claustrum communicated with brain regions involved in hearing, attention, decision-making and remembering.
With the highly detailed imaging of the claustrum provided by fMRI, the researchers next hope to look at the mysterious brain region in people with certain psychiatric disorders such as depression and substance use disorder. The goal of these experiments will be to see what roles, if any, the claustrum plays in these conditions. The researchers also plan to observe the claustrum’s activity when under the influence of other psychedelics, such as salvinorin A, a hallucinogen derived from a Mexican plant.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- The Weight Loss Tool That Could Help Nearly 1.9 Billion Peopleon August 25, 2021 at 5:17 am
The obesity epidemic is still bursting at the seams. At the moment, 1.9 billion people are overweight, with more than 650 million considered obese. In addition, by 2022, $245 billion will be spent on ...
- HAVN Life Signs Agreement to Supply Psilocybin for Mycotopia Therapieson August 25, 2021 at 5:13 am
The partnership will further industry growth for naturally derived psilocybinVANCOUVER, BC / ACCESSWIRE / August 25, 2021 / Havn Life Sciences Inc. (CSE:HAVN)(OTC PINK:HAVLF)(FSE:5NP) (the "Company" ...
- Mycotopia Therapies Signs Agreement With Havn Life Sciences For Purchase of Psilocybin SPPon August 25, 2021 at 5:04 am
The terms of the agreement call for Havn Life Sciences to supply Mycotopia Therapies with naturally-derived psilocybin. Under the terms of the agreement, Mycotopia Therapies is classified as a ...
- Dr. AnnaRx(TM) Launching CBD & CBN Nutraceutical Lineon August 24, 2021 at 5:46 am
(OTC Pink:WUHN) (“Wuhan” or the “Company”), a bioceutical company focused on alternative plant-based cannabinoids and psilocybin medical research is pleased to announce the following update: The Dr ...
- Psychedelic drug research center started at UW-Madisonon August 24, 2021 at 1:00 am
The move expands research on psilocybin, MDMA and other compounds to treat depression and other mental health disorders.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- FSD Pharma Announces Definitive Agreement to Acquire Lucid Psycheceuticalson August 25, 2021 at 6:05 am
FSD Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: HUGE) (CSE: HUGE) (FRA: 0K9) ("FSD Pharma" or the "Company"), a life sciences holding company dedicated to building a portfolio of assets and biotech solutions in legal ...
- UW-Madison further commits to the study of psychedelicson August 24, 2021 at 1:45 pm
The Transdisciplinary Center for Research in Psychoactive Substances will expand the scope of psychedelic research at UW-Madison.
- Wisconsin University Launches Psychedelics Center With Goal Of Increasing Diversity In Researchon August 23, 2021 at 8:57 am
Another university has announced the launch of a psychedelics research institute—and this one is taking special interest in ensuring that participants reflect the diversity of people who stand to ...
- Exploring Research on Psychedelics and Autismon August 21, 2021 at 9:53 am
Although there is a lot of controversy surrounding the idea of using psychedelic substances as a form of treatment for some disorders, psychedelics can have promising effects on the brains of ...
- How Can Psychedelics Be Used To Treat Addiction?on August 20, 2021 at 6:13 am
Psychedelics are being explored for a myriad of neurological and psychiatric conditions. Recently, Technology Networks spoke with Professor David Nutt and Anthony Tennyson from Awakn Life Sciences, a ...