Magic mushrooms can fight depression as study says psychedelic compound boosts brain's functional networks

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Apr 13, 2022, 03:00 PM(IST)

Magic mushrooms Photograph:( Others )

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The study assessed the subacute impact of psilocybin on brain function in two clinical trials and combined the results 

A study published on Monday (April 11) in the journal Nature Medicine suggests that the magic mushroom's drug psilocybin can help treat depression, leading to long-term improvements in the severe symptoms. 

The small study states that the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms can help people stop having or getting stuck in negative patterns of thinking. 

Magic mushrooms are also called shrooms or mushrooms. They are a type of mushroom that contains the drugs psilocybin or psilocin and these drugs cause hallucinations after consuming. 

The study 'Increased global integration in the brain after psilocybin therapy for depression' focuses on the need for new and improved treatments for depression. The study was conducted by the Imperial College of London. 

Depression is a medical illness that negatively affects how a person feels, thinks or acts. Although, it is a highly prevalent mental health condition. The incidence of depression has increased during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The study tells that psilocybin therapy shows antidepressant potential. Although, the study also stated that psilocybin therapy's therapeutic actions are not well understood. 

Professor David Nutt, head of the Imperial Centre for Psychedelic Research, said as quoted by Daily Mail: "These findings are important because for the first time we find that psilocybin works differently from conventional antidepressants — making the brain more flexible and fluid, and less entrenched in the negative thinking patterns associated with depression." 

"This supports our initial predictions and confirms psilocybin could be a real alternative approach to depression treatments," Nutt added. 

The study assessed the subacute impact of psilocybin on brain function in two clinical trials - the first was an open-label trial of orally administered psilocybin and the second trial was a double-blind phase II randomised controlled trial comparing psilocybin therapy with escitalopram. 

A part of the study read: "In both trials, the antidepressant response to psilocybin was rapid, sustained and correlated with decreases in fMRI brain network modularity, implying that psilocybin’s antidepressant action may depend on a global increase in brain network integration." 

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