Neurotech company founder tests his own brain scan helmet on ketamine

Bryan Johnson, the founder of neurotech company Kernel, tested his company's brain-scanning helmet after having received ketamine.

Published May 11, 2022 4:22 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, May 31 2022 8:08 PM CDT
1 minute & 34 seconds read time

Ketamine has been the subject of research in recent years, highlighting its potential to treat and cure depression.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Kernel, a neurotech company that makes brain-scanning helmets, to work with Cybin, a startup investigating psychedelic-based therapeutics, on a ketamine pilot study in October 2021. As part of the tests, Bryan Johnson, the founder of Kernel, wore one of its devices after being administered ketamine.

Johnson received 57.75 milligrams of ketamine via intramuscular injection and wore the helmet to collect brain scans during his "trip." He also wore the helmet during the days leading up to and following his trip for comparison.

Before the injection, Johnson's brain had strong and distinct patterns of connection between various brain regions. However, major brain rewiring was evident about twenty minutes after the injection, appearing to dissolve many of these pathways and quietening the brain, lending it to a more meditative state.

Kernel currently produces two different brain-scanning helmets, the Kernel Flux and the Kernel Flow, the latter of which was used by Johnson during his tests with ketamine. The Kernel Flow fires laser pulses into the brain and uses optical brain recording technologies, while the Kernel Flux uses magnetoencephalography (MEG) technology to measure the brain's electromagnetic activity.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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