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posted by janrinok on Sunday November 30 2014, @11:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the available-on-prescription? dept.

I may start growing 'shrooms in my dark and dank pantry and get off Celexa after reading this New York Times article about what may be the medicinal qualities of magic mushrooms:

A study published last month in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface compared M.R.I.s of the brains of subjects injected with psilocybin [the psychoactive agent in magic mushrooms] with scans of their normal brain activity. The brains on psilocybin showed radically different connectivity patterns between cortical regions (the parts thought to play an important role in consciousness). The researchers mapped out these connections, revealing the activity of new neural networks between otherwise disconnected brain regions.

The researchers suspect that these unusual connections may be responsible for the synaesthetic experience trippers describe, of hearing colors, for example, and seeing sounds. The part of the brain that processes sound may be connecting to the part of the brain that processes sight. The study’s leader [said that] his team doubted that this psilocybin-induced connectivity lasted. They think they are seeing a temporary modification of the subject’s brain function.

The fact that under the influence of psilocybin the brain temporarily behaves in a new way may be medically significant in treating psychological disorders like depression. “When suffering depression, people get stuck in a spiral of negative thoughts and cannot get out of it,” [the study's leader] said. “One can imagine that breaking any pattern that prevents a ‘proper’ functioning of the brain can be helpful.” Think of it as tripping a breaker or rebooting your computer.

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Groundbreaking Ketamine-Derived Treatment for Depression Approved by the U.S. FDA 24 comments

Fast-Acting Depression Drug, Newly Approved, Could Help Millions

Of the 16 million American adults who live with depression, as many as one-quarter gain little or no benefit from available treatments, whether drugs or talk therapy. They represent perhaps the greatest unmet need in psychiatry. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved a prescription treatment intended to help them, a fast-acting drug derived from an old and widely used anesthetic, ketamine.

The move heralds a shift from the Prozac era of antidepressant drugs. The newly approved treatment, called esketamine, is a nasal spray developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a branch of Johnson & Johnson, that will be marketed under the name Spravato. It contains an active portion of the ketamine molecule, whose antidepressant properties are not well understood yet. "Thank goodness we now have something with a different mechanism of action than previous antidepressants," said Dr. Erick Turner, a former F.D.A. reviewer and an associate professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University. "But I'm skeptical of the hype, because in this world it's like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown: Each time we get our hopes up, the football gets pulled away."

[...] Esketamine, like ketamine, has the potential for abuse, and both drugs can induce psychotic episodes in people who are at high risk for them. The safety monitoring will require doctors to find space for treated patients, which could present a logistical challenge, some psychiatrists said.

The wholesale cost for a course of treatment will be between $2,360 and $3,540, said Janssen, and experts said it will give the company a foothold in the $12 billion global antidepressant market, where most drugs now are generic.

[...] One question that will need to be answered is how well esketamine performs in comparison to intravenous ketamine.

Also at STAT News, Reuters, and NPR.

Previously: Ketamine Reduces Suicidal Thoughts in Depressed Patients
Studies Identify How Ketamine Can Reverse Symptoms of Depression
Ketamine Shows Promise as a Fast-Acting Treatment for Depression

Related:


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  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday December 01 2014, @12:24AM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 01 2014, @12:24AM (#121360) Journal

    Making your brain operate in a way that does not normally occur in healthy people hardly seems like rebooting your computer.
    In fact it seems more like electroshock therapy with chemicals.

    is team doubted that this psilocybin-induced connectivity lasted.

    I'm guessing this is a good thing. I've read you are pretty much useless on Peyote, and psilocybin seems sort of similar, and has been used for for OCD, Cancer, and anxiety [wikipedia.org], with no ill effects. but rather vague benefit.

    Maybe benefits might accrue because your brain is so busy trying to figure out what happened it doesn't have time for depression?

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by timbim on Monday December 01 2014, @12:42AM

      by timbim (907) on Monday December 01 2014, @12:42AM (#121363)

      Maybe you should try it before you make some half-assed, narrow minded assumptions.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @01:07AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @01:07AM (#121369)

        Stop being a fucking retard, Timmy.

      • (Score: 1) by dlb on Monday December 01 2014, @01:59AM

        by dlb (4790) on Monday December 01 2014, @01:59AM (#121376)
        If you read up on fMRI's that are used in brain scans, you'll come across many in the neurological profession who caution that their results are overly hyped. All an fMIR shows is blood flow in the brain. If an area "lights up" it means there's an increased blood flow. So, does that mean that part of the brain is becoming more active? Probably. Does it tell us what that activity is all about? Hardly.
        So where do the researcher's get this conclusion?

        The brains on psilocybin showed radically different connectivity patterns between cortical regions

        I thought connectivity between neurons could only be shown postmortem.

        The mind-altering drugs used for anxiety and depression (effexor, paxil, wellbutrin, etc.) have side-effects that are wide spread and drastic. It's truly a shotgun approach where treating one area of the brain with an apparent increase of a neurotransmitter treats the whole brain with that apparent increase. Sometimes a patient's condition is severe enough that an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication is the lesser of two evils. And when it's not, prescribing them is just profit for the drug maker.

        These researchers see an fMRI change with psilocybin, openly admit they've no idea what it means, but then conclude that whatever it is, it might be good for someone with depression simply because of a behavior change, and mention nothing about long-term effects. I find this scary. Once a brain's been damaged, drug-induced or otherwise, it's no small feat to put the pieces back together again.

        • (Score: 1) by nishi.b on Monday December 01 2014, @09:03AM

          by nishi.b (4243) on Monday December 01 2014, @09:03AM (#121455)

          I thought connectivity between neurons could only be shown postmortem.

          True, but you can estimate the functional connectivity between regions as the temporal correlation between regions. Of course you have to accept that fMRI blood-based imaging really reveals functional changes (if you put a drug that increases blood flow, you will see activations against a control all over the place even if that doesn't mean anything).

          For example, if you show an image to a subject, the primary visual cortex lights up and then the regions associated to object identification light up 80ms later at every trial, you can compute the likelihood these regions are linked. In the case of this article, it is most likely that the connections do already exist in the brain in the anatomical sense (the neurons are connected) but these connections are usually inhibited by other processes. In that case, they are not "functionally linked" according to fMRI measurement. If the inhibition is lowered (for example because you disrupt the GABA receptors who inhibit neuron responses), you might see new functional connections between areas that will disappear as soon as the drug wears out.

          I am also surprised about long-term effects. If the subject uses his/her new functional connections, they are usually reinforced (long-term potentiation for example), even when the drug wears out. So not as harmless as implied by the summary...

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Monday December 01 2014, @04:41PM

            by sjames (2882) on Monday December 01 2014, @04:41PM (#121552) Journal

            Except it really seems to be that harmless. A great many people have used and abused mushrooms over the decades and there is little in the way of evidence of a long term problem. Your contrary conclusion requires two assumptions not in evidence. First that the patient ever does continue using and reinforcing those connections and second, that it is harmful if they do.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tynin on Monday December 01 2014, @03:18AM

      by tynin (2013) on Monday December 01 2014, @03:18AM (#121387) Journal

      What is so wrong with taking something that makes it so your brain doesn't have time for the depression that is crushing you? Seems only a shade different than finding comfort in watching a movie or even reading a book. A disconnected entertainment that allows you to step out of it all. It gives you a view... that existence is something bigger, something smaller, something else. Is euphoria only for the rich and fuck those trying to scrape by moment to moment? Depression is a hydra and you are under attack from so many angles. Hopefully can face life full on and live it to its fullest, but for some they are beset by a shadow of morose that they cannot shake. Those suffering from it, if they so chose should be allowed to try to better their existence so long as they aren't a harm to others. Climb down from your soapbox and open your eyes. Many are in pain and you seem to only care for what is deemed proper for the day and of that caste.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by dry on Monday December 01 2014, @06:59AM

        by dry (223) on Monday December 01 2014, @06:59AM (#121431) Journal

        The trick is to make sure the surroundings are mellow and that there is a guide present who can guide the user in a beneficial direction, ideally the guide should be experienced in taking the hallucinogenics . Randomly taking hallucinogenics can be positive or negative depending on surroundings and state of mind.

    • (Score: 2) by Hartree on Monday December 01 2014, @06:24AM

      by Hartree (195) on Monday December 01 2014, @06:24AM (#121424)

      "Making your brain operate in a way that does not normally occur in healthy people hardly seems like rebooting your computer.
      In fact it seems more like electroshock therapy with chemicals."

      Wow! So that's how drinking a gin and tonic to unwind works?

      And here I thought I was just getting drunk...

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday December 01 2014, @07:05AM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 01 2014, @07:05AM (#121433) Journal

        When I drink, I don't hear colors.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @07:57AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @07:57AM (#121444)

          Your not drinking the right stuff.

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday December 01 2014, @10:03AM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Monday December 01 2014, @10:03AM (#121462) Homepage
      > Making your brain operate in a way that does not normally occur in healthy people hardly seems like rebooting your computer.

      Maybe it's like booting into a linux live CD! For some, it's wonderful, for some, it's horrific.
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Tuesday December 02 2014, @04:49PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Tuesday December 02 2014, @04:49PM (#121915) Journal

        Maybe it's like booting into a linux live CD! For some, it's wonderful, for some, it's horrific.

        That actually may be the best analogy I've ever heard...

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by sjames on Monday December 01 2014, @04:30PM

      by sjames (2882) on Monday December 01 2014, @04:30PM (#121547) Journal

      It's also notable that mushrooms have been used with great success on migraine and cluster headaches. In those cases, a single dose has provides 6 months to a year of relief. Given the level of suffering for patients in that condition, there is little excuse not to re-classify them as a prescription drug immediately.

      That step would also greatly improve the chances of getting better studies done.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @12:51AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @12:51AM (#121365)
  • (Score: 1) by Gravis on Monday December 01 2014, @01:00AM

    by Gravis (4596) on Monday December 01 2014, @01:00AM (#121367)

    The fact that under the influence of psilocybin the brain temporarily behaves in a new way may be medically significant in treating psychological disorders like depression. “When suffering depression, people get stuck in a spiral of negative thoughts and cannot get out of it,” [the study's leader] said. “One can imagine that breaking any pattern that prevents a ‘proper’ functioning of the brain can be helpful.”

    your plant needs water. what do you do?

    A) pour some water on the plant.
    B) throw the plant in a lake.

    both will get the plant the water it needs but one is a really dumb idea.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @01:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @01:43AM (#121372)

      C) Drink the water, wait 20 minutes, water the plant.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @02:05AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @02:05AM (#121379)

        Only 20 min?
        If I were you; I'd go get a check up on my prostate.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @02:27AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @02:27AM (#121380)
          If I were you, I'd check up on the difference between the kidneys and the prostate. Specifically check out what nephrons are.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @02:56AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @02:56AM (#121385)

          As long as it's within an hour it's considered normal for a properly hydrated person.

          • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Monday December 01 2014, @12:31PM

            by q.kontinuum (532) on Monday December 01 2014, @12:31PM (#121480) Journal

            I disagree. Even within an hour I'd consider it bad behaviour, not normal!

            --
            Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @02:29AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @02:29AM (#121381)

      Your cute analogy better describes the dangerous conventional drugs, not the comparatively benign psilocybin.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @02:39AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @02:39AM (#121383)
        What are you basing "benign" on?

        At doses of 13 mg or more, users' perceptions become altered, and they develop the same symptoms as an LSD user.

        Users with a history of mental illness should not take hallucinogens, including psilocybin, because they can trigger or aggravate conditions like schizophrenia, mania, or depression.

        Taken from http://brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/alcohol,_tobacco,_&_other_drugs/psilocybin.php [brown.edu] of Brown University

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mendax on Monday December 01 2014, @03:17AM

          by mendax (2840) on Monday December 01 2014, @03:17AM (#121386)

          This advice may be indicated for larger hallucinogenic amounts of psilocybin, but perhaps not in smaller, medicinal doses. After all, pseudophedrine in small doses will stop your runny nose without putting you to sleep. Large amounts are an hallucinogen, which is why the FDA requires the placing of small amounts of ipecac or some other nasty shit to cause you to vomit it up if you take a large dose. And, of course, it can be cooked in a chemistry lab and used as a component of meth which is why it's harder to get these days.

          --
          It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02 2014, @12:40AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02 2014, @12:40AM (#121688)

            Pseudo ephedrine is not an hallucinogenic., you will die before tripping unless you're on maoi then you will trip before you die

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @05:18AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @05:18AM (#121410)

          That's the "symptom" recreational users of mushrooms and LSD want. The people who are prescribed psilocybin in the future should take the dose recommended by their doctor. Stigma and research restrictions don't help the latter group get (potentially) effective treatment, and the former group should be free to do what they want with these safe drugs.

  • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Monday December 01 2014, @07:15AM

    by q.kontinuum (532) on Monday December 01 2014, @07:15AM (#121435) Journal

    “When suffering depression, people get stuck in a spiral of negative thoughts and cannot get out of it,” [the study's leader] said. “One can imagine that breaking any pattern that prevents a ‘proper’ functioning of the brain can be helpful.”

    First of all, it's interesting that the conclusion seems to be nearly unrelated to the mentioned MRIs. We knew already that psilocybin disrupts the usual way of thinking, and the argument seems to be solely based on this aspect. Looks like the whole MRI-talk only serves the purpose of appearing more professional. Nevertheless, I would basically agree with the conclusion. But this statement would work for any drug influencing thought patterns, e.g. for alcohol as well, and in my experience that does not work. For me, alcohol seems to slow down thinking, emphasizing emotions, that way amplifying depressive phases. With alcohol I never woke up in a better mood than I had before the first glass. On top, alcohol can lead to addiction and therefore lots of new problems.

    THC in small dosage, on the other hand, seems to reduce emotions while changing the flow of thoughts - not always in a productive way, but potentially enough to get out of that spiral of negative thoughts, and it's not only a reboot (as in stopping the current thoughts), but usually provides a fresh perspective on existing problems. Sometimes the thoughts under influence even have some merits when they are reconsidered with a clear head later on. Nevertheless, this should not be a replacement for professional counseling.

    I don't know much about psilocybin, but the effect of that drug sounds disconcerting to me, especially for people being already in a bad mood. From what I heard, the effect is supposed to be similar to LSD, and (also just hearsay) usage of these drugs can lead to real horror-trips.

    --
    Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
    • (Score: 2) by TK on Monday December 01 2014, @09:49PM

      by TK (2760) on Monday December 01 2014, @09:49PM (#121648)

      If the desired outcome is breaking repetitive patterns of thought/action, the details of the administration would seem to be the most important part. I'm sure you've encountered habitual THC and alcohol users in your life that have displayed symptoms of depression. I know I have. Talk about spiraling into a single thought pattern.

      As for psilocybin, I'll admit my experience is minor, but I don't know of any habitual users. Maybe a few times every year. I've certainly never heard of any mushroom equivalent of "wake and bake" or "hair of the dog".

      --
      The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @01:40PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @01:40PM (#121498)

    for me, taking psilocybe cubensis was a rite of passage, of sorts. i was 17.
    i took them over the course of a year, in good set n setting, about 10 trips total.
    I wanted to understand why and what i am afraid of... which i found out... and, i met goddess Inanna, but thats a totally different story, heh

    long story short, the experience changed slightly pretty much everything about me, personality, reaction patterns, preferences, motivation, outlook on life and people

    Overall it was a positive thing, even if it (possibly?) triggered a few depressive episodes years later.
    So in my limited opinion, its entirely possible that psilocybin rewires brain, either directly or through mixing seemingly unrelated experiences with each other.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Arik on Monday December 01 2014, @03:32PM

    by Arik (4543) on Monday December 01 2014, @03:32PM (#121533) Journal
    Tim Leary told us about this many decades ago.
    --
    If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @03:46PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 01 2014, @03:46PM (#121538)

    "They are not a cure, only a treatment for the symptoms. The cure has to come from within yourself." Straight from the Doctors mouth. I tried just about every one made over almost 10 years. I felt overmedicated, disconnected, not myself, weight swings, high BP and tachycardia. The best thing that ever happened was when I stopped taking them. Everything returned to normal, the Doctors said that rarely happens and were surprised. Don't stop unless you talk to your Doctor first, and only under his supervision, it causes problems during the withdrawals.

  • (Score: 1) by crAckZ on Monday December 01 2014, @05:42PM

    by crAckZ (3501) on Monday December 01 2014, @05:42PM (#121574) Journal

    http://www.shroomery.org/ [shroomery.org]

    and you can google the "free spore ring" as it is legal to have the spores in the united states.