OPEN Foundation

Day: 1 June 2015

Anti-mycobacterial and anti-inflammatory activity of Peganum harmala.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the antimycobacterial and anti-inflammatory activity of the methanolic extracts of Peganum harmala (Esphand) collected from Golestan province, north of Iran. Methods: Hydroalcoholic extract of seeds of Peganum harmala were obtained and screened for anti-mycobacterial activity by disc diffusion (DD) method. The anti-inflammatory activity of the extract was evaluated by cytokines measurement using ELISA in a model of phagocytized intracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis, H37Rv strain, in dU937cells. Free radical-scavenging activity, total phenolic, flavonoids and Harmalin concentrations were assessed to investigate phytochemical properties of the extract. Our data showed the inhibitory effect of the extract on growth of all strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis even on drug resistant strains. Cytokines production in culture media showed the anti-inflammatory activity of the extract. The antioxidant (IC50 (DPPH assay) was 53.6 ± 0.50 mg/L. The amount of total phenolic and flavonoids components was 61.5 ± 0.80 gGAE/kg and 42.20 ± 0.60 respectively. These findings revealed the potential ability of the Peganum harmala s seed as a complementary medicine to treat tuberculosis.

Davoodi, H., Ghaemi, E., Mazandarani, M., Shakeri, F., Javid, S. N., & Klishadi, M. (2015). Anti-mycobacterial and anti-inflammatory activity of Peganum harmala. Journal of Chemical & Pharmaceutical Research, 7(4).
Link to full text

Harm Reduction or Psychedelic Support?


Many of the EDM events known as “transformational festivals” provide psychedelic support spaces: volunteer projects caring for festivalgoers undergoing difficult drug experiences. Mostly drawn from the festival community, many volunteer carers (“sitters”) subscribe to psychedelic culture discourse which frames these substances as aids to personal growth if handled appropriately. However, within the dominant paradigm of international drug prohibition, support projects must employ the contrasting discourse of harm reduction in order to gain access to events, visibility to festivalgoers, and integration with other support staff. Harm reduction, a paradigm for the care of drug users which began as a grassroots heroin addict advocacy movement, has since become associated with neoliberal, medicalised views of drugs, drug users and the self. his article considers how psychedelic support workers negotiate this discourse dichotomy in the course of caregiving, within differing national and local drug policy climates. Early findings are presented from ethnographic fieldwork as a psychedelic support volunteer with three organisations at seven festivals, combining participant observation and in-depth interviews with nineteen support workers. Events in the UK, the US and Portugal were studied due to these countries’ contrasting policy regimes. Points of conflict between the psychedelic and harm reduction discourses were found to create tensions both within the support organisations and in their relations with on-site medics, security guards, festival organisers and police. he findings suggest that mainstream harm reduction discourses may be a poor it for psychedelics and that risks inhere in their adoption by festival support spaces, such as abjection of drug users in difficulty which may create a trust-damaging divide between users and workers.

Ruane, D. (2015). Harm Reduction or Psychedelic Support?. Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture, 7(1)

Link to full text

MDMA for the treatment of mood disorder: all talk no substance?



Unipolar depression is the third highest contributor to the global burden of disease, yet current pharmacotherapies typically take about 6 weeks to have an effect. A rapid-onset agent is an attractive prospect, not only to alleviate symptoms before first-line antidepressants display therapeutic action, but as a further treatment option in nonresponsive cases. It has been suggested that 3,4-methylene-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) could play a part in the treatment of depression, either as a rapid-onset pharmacological agent or as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Whilst these hypotheses are in keeping with the monoamine theory of depression and the principles surrounding psychotherapy, explicit experimental evidence of an antidepressant effect of MDMA has rarely been established.


To address the hypothesis surrounding MDMA as a rapid-onset antidepressant by examining pharmacological, psychological and behavioural studies. We consider whether this therapy could be safe by looking at the translation of neurotoxicity data from animals to humans.


A literature review of the evidence supporting this hypothesis was performed.


The pharmacology of MDMA offers a promising target as a rapid-onset agent and MDMA is currently being investigated for use in psychotherapy in anxiety disorders; translation from these studies for use in depression may be possible. However, experimental evidence and safety analysis are insufficient to confirm or reject this theory at present.

Patel, R., & Titheradge, D. (2015). MDMA for the treatment of mood disorder: all talk no substance?. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, 2045125315583786.
Link to full text

Single-Dose ketamine followed by daily D-Cycloserine in treatment-resistant bipolar depression


Bipolar depression is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Recently, N-methyl-D-asparate glutamate-receptor (NMDAR) antagonists, such as ketamine, have been shown to induce remission in bipolar depression. Nevertheless, ketamine use is limited by transient effects and psychogenic potential during repeated administration.

Kantrowitz, J. T., Halberstam, B., & Gangwisch, J. (2015). Single-Dose ketamine followed by daily D-Cycloserine in treatment-resistant bipolar depression. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 76(6), 737-738.
Link to full text