Brain Dynamical States During the Psychedelic Experience

Enhanced Repertoire of Brain Dynamical States During the Psychedelic Experience

The study of rapid changes in brain dynamics and functional connectivity (FC) is of increasing interest in neuroimaging. Brain states departing from normal waking consciousness are expected to be accompanied by alterations in the aforementioned dynamics.

In particular, the psychedelic experience produced by psilocybin (a substance found in “magic mushrooms”) is characterized by unconstrained cognition and profound alterations in the perception of time, space and selfhood. Considering the spontaneous and subjective manifestation of these effects, we hypothesize that neural correlates of the psychedelic experience can be found in the dynamics and variability of spontaneous brain activity fluctuations and connectivity, measurable with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

Fifteen healthy subjects were scanned before, during and after intravenous infusion of psilocybin and an inert placebo. Blood-Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) temporal variability was assessed computing the variance and total spectral power, resulting in increased signal variability bilaterally in the hippocampi and anterior cingulate cortex. Changes in BOLD signal spectral behavior (including spectral scaling exponents) affected exclusively higher brain systems such as the default mode, executive control, and dorsal attention networks.

A novel framework enabled us to track different connectivity states explored by the brain during rest. This approach revealed a wider repertoire of connectivity states post-psilocybin than during control conditions. Together, the present results provide a comprehensive account of the effects of psilocybin on dynamical behavior in the human brain at a macroscopic level and may have implications for our understanding of the unconstrained, hyper-associative quality of consciousness in the psychedelic state.

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  • terry hall on Help us treat depression!I would be very interested to hear about your research on your use of psychedelics , I would be very interested if you are looking for new volunteers for further trials , I am 50 years old and I have suffered with depression for 25 years and have fou…
  • Bob on The administration of psilocybin to healthy hallucinogen experienced volunteersHi, I have read your articles and I am currently on anti depressants. I have tried different kinds as I have mild PTSD from military service and suffer from depression constantly. I would very much like to assist and be a volunteer for future trials.
  • Chris noton on The administration of psilocybin to healthy hallucinogen experienced volunteersHello, I’m am 43 year old male living in oxford and suffered from depression and anxiety for 20 some years and I am a chronic suffer. I am very interested in participating on this type of drug trial. In my 20’s I have picked my own mushrooms once or…
  • Anonymous on Are you having a psychedelic experience in the near future?Hi All, I suffer from depression and anxiety and have done so for many years. After being placed on anti-depressants (again), I had a very bad response and the side effects of increased suicidal thoughts became unbearable. It was an everyday battle o…
  • J Moran on Help us treat depression!Hello, I am wondering if you have completed your research into the use of psychedelics to aid with depression. I suffer with it myself and want to know if you are still looking for volunteers? I am currently 20 years old, turning 21 in September. I a…
  • Leo Tognetti on The administration of psilocybin to healthy hallucinogen experienced volunteersHi Drew Thanks for sharing. What was your method?
  • Richard NAUGHTON on Help us treat depression!These mushrooms have powers beyond the understanding of the modern world that have been lost in translation since the dawn of man . I've used them and felt drawn to them and felt it was a calling . I collected them myself for 15 years ate them , drie…
  • Garry Tickell on Are you having a psychedelic experience in the near future?My name is Garry.I have been using LSD (truffles)every day for the last fortnight.I have bi;polar disorder,and asbergers.I have several different thoughts on what im doing,and why,the hell i have to do it illegally.Right now,i have to start work,so d…

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