Mushroom-induced brain rewiring could hold the key to fighting mental illness

Mushroom-induced brain rewiring could hold the key to fighting mental illness
Scott Kaufman
31 Oct 2014

Psychedelic mushrooms dramatically increase connectivity between otherwise uncommunicative parts of the brain, according to researchers from Imperial College London in an article to be published in the November edition of the Royal Society’s journal Interface.

Paul Expert and his team analyzed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from two groups of people β€” one who had ingested a small amount of the active agent in hallucinogenic mushrooms, psilocybin, and another group who was given a placebo.

They found that the main effect was the creation of stable connections between parts of the brain that, under normal conditions, only communicate with each other in dream states β€” such as the hippocampus (which deals with short term memory and spatial recognition) and anterior cingulate cortex (which regulates rational cognitive functions).

The result of this stable cross-wiring is a more interconnected brain, as shown on the diagram below:

brain rewiring on mushrooms

On the left is a data visualization of a brain administered the placebo; on the right, one that has been subjected to a mild dose of psilocybin.

“We can speculate on the implications of such an organization,” Dr. Expert said. “One possible by-product of this greater communication across the whole brain is the phenomenon of synaesthesia” — which is the experience of having senses overlap, such that certain smells are accompanied by flashes of color, or certain sounds are accompanied by tastes.

It is also believed that rewiring the brain in this manner may allow scientists to find more effective ways to treat depression or help smokers and alcoholics battle their addictions.

This research is only possible thanks to a a recent loosening on the regulations regarding the study of psychedelic drugs for medical purposes. This is a positive measure, said study co-author Giovanni Petri, who told Wired that “in a normal brain, many things are happening. You don’t know what is going on, or what is responsible for that. So you try to perturb the state of consciousness a bit, and see what happens.”

i always enjoy getting packages from india

package from indiapeople who send packages from india seem to have an entirely different attitude than people (including myself) who send packages from the united states… this one, for example. if i were to wrap a package, i would probably stop before i got to the pillow-case wrapper, secured with red embroidery floss.

package from indiait also had a return address that was different from the return address that i got on the “official” computer printed UPS tracking label, which was from somebody who operates a mail-forwarding service in jamaica, new york… booorring!… 😐

after carefully removing the cloth wrapping around the outside of the package (because you never know, with packages from india, whether or not the cloth wrapping may be used for some esoteric, indian purpose that won’t become clear until after the rest of the package is opened), i discovered this, package from india which was a little bit more like how i would expect a package to be wrapped… although, in my, personal, opinion, they went just a little bit overboard with the shipping tape that covered the entire package. it’s my understanding, in this case, that it may be an “extra precaution”, since what is contained inside the package is of a somewhat sensitive nature, but that’s getting ahead of myself… πŸ˜‰

package from indiathis is another reason why i enjoy unwrapping packages from india: they inevitably wrap whatever is inside the package in newspaper which, depending on which part of india it comes from, is written in hindi (devanagari), or tamil, or sinhalese, or punjabi, or urdu, or something other than english american… it’s really interesting to me to try to read the articles (i usually fail miserably, because i only know sanskrit, and not very much of that), but i can usually make out ayurvedic terminology, or dates — in this case अक्टूबर “akṭubara” or “october”…

it takes so little to amuse me… 😎 i haven’t even gotten to the contents of the package…

parad (solid mercury) mala

parad (solid mercury) mala

this is the contents of the package: a parad mala. i know that the main component of parad is mercury, and i’m aware of the fact that there is some mystical process by which they turn liquid mercury into a solid object (Mercury mouth closed with Aghor Vidhya, Murthi-Badhha/Agnibadha — sustain the heat) but i’m not exactly sure how it’s done, although it is my impression that it is mixed with herbal substances and strained through a cloth mesh.

generally you don’t get such exciting, exotic packages from the united states… 😎

apara-squeeeeeeEEEEE-ta!!

so, about this time last year, or thereabouts, i got an order for aparajita from a customer who wanted to resell it. i made a deal to sell half of my existing stock to them at cost, but that left me with a quickly diminishing stock, and, because of the fact that i had bought the aparajita (in the “old” box) from a दस्यु who sent me 170 boxes of a 240-box order, and then vanished into the ethernet, leaving no forwarding address or any other way of contacting him, i was, once again, DESPERATELY searching for a new supplier of my best-selling incense.

shortly after that, i found one(!!), and ordered more aparajita at a cost that allowed me to reduce my price from $7.00 a box to $4.00 a box. πŸ˜€

fast forward to yesterday.

i decided, because of the fact that i was down to 4 dozen boxes, that it was time to order more aparajita. i figured i would duplicate my previous order, because, while aparajita is my best-seller, i don’t have any indication that it’s becoming more popular — i did have a supplier tell me that they didn’t carry aparajita any longer, because it has a “too medicinal” smell that “people don’t like”…

so i ordered 7 dozen boxes, and figured that would be good enough…

then, this morning, i got another email from the lady who originally wrote me back in the first sentance of this post, and she wants to order 50 boxes, like last time…

so i wrote her back with the good news about the new supplier, and she changed her order from 50 boxes (a little more than 4 dozen) to 100 boxes (around 8 dozen)…

which meant that i, then, had to call the supplier(!!) and change my order from 7 dozen to 15 dozen…

squeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! 😎

bluh

i was up until 1:30 this morning… i had a snake suspenderz gig at a benefit for the moisture festival, which didn’t get out until 10:00, which meant that i didn’t get home until about 11:30, and then i spent 2½ hours preparing and uploading a bunch of files for a guy from the moisture festival… i probably didn’t have to stay up that late, but it took me a while to realise that, despite the fact that my computer said that they uploaded almost instantly, they were actually taking a considerable amount of time to upload (because they were actually fairly large files), and i deleted them and started over several times because it was late and i didn’t realise that, in reality, they weren’t uploading instantly.

there were a bunch of chautauquans at the gig last night: stephan freelan (formerly freeman) was the stage manager, and nanda was there — all five of them this time (there were only four of them when we performed on vashon last week). there were a lot more folks there, but stephan and nanda are the only ones whose names i can reliably remember…

moe has been in spokane since wednesday… alledgedly, this is the last of her travelling out of town for a while (she claims that she doesn’t have to travel again until january), which, if it’s true, would be a very good thing indeed.