LSD unifies brain networks in an infant-like state, study finds

Brittany A. Roston - Apr 12, 2016, 1:44pm CDT
LSD unifies brain networks in an infant-like state, study finds

LSD can return the brain to an infant-like state, according to a newly published study. According to researchers with Imperial College London, LSD breaks down the individuality between brain networks, resulting in a more cohesive overall network that works in a more unified manner. This is compared to a sober adult’s brain, which has its various networks, such as hearing and vision, working independently.

The study was published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and it details the means by which LSD may cause its complex visuals and other assorted effects. Volunteers under the influence, researchers found, had more than just the visual cortex participating in the visual process; as well, researchers observed that many volunteers experienced improved overall well-being once the drug’s effects wore off.

Said the study’s lead Robin Cahart-Harris:

In many ways the brain in the LSD state resembles the state our brains were in when we were infants: free and unconstrained. This also makes sense when we consider the hyper-emotional and imaginative nature of an infant’s mind.

The researchers were able to observe these changes using brain scans taken while volunteers were tripping; the work was done in collaboration with the Beckley Foundation, which funded the project. The 20 volunteers were given either a placebo or 75 micrograms of LSD before being monitored using an fMRI machine.

Some researchers feel psychoactive substances like LSD can be useful in the field of psychiatry and mental health; said researcher David Nutt, “This could have great implications for psychiatry.”

SOURCE: Reuters, PNAS


Must Read Bits & Bytes