'Magic' compound rewires the brains of people with depression

Clinical trials have observed increased global integration in the brain correlated with fewer depressive symptoms with psilocybin.

Published Thu, Apr 14 2022 4:43 AM CDT   |   Updated Sun, May 8 2022 4:11 AM CDT

A study on the depression treatment titled "Increased global integration in the brain after psilocybin therapy for depression" has been published in the journal Nature Medicine.

'Magic' compound rewires the brains of people with depression 01 | TweakTown.com

Recent clinical trials have used psilocybin, a psychoactive compound found in so-called "magic mushrooms," to treat depression by boosting connectivity between different brain regions. The study involved 59 people, of which 16 people participated in one clinical trial, and the remaining 43 participated in another.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans showed increased blood flow between different areas and increasing brain network integration, which were correlated with long-term improvements in depressive symptoms, even in patients with treatment-resistant depression.

First author Richard Daws said that "psilocybin's antidepressant effect works via a different mechanism to the way that sort of conventional antidepressants work," likely by acting on serotonin 2A receptors. These receptors are associated with high-level cognitive functions such as introspection and executive functioning, but more research will be needed to understand psilocybin's mechanism of action in treating depression.

You can read more from the study here.

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NEWS SOURCES:livescience.com, doi.org

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