OPEN Foundation

Day: 1 August 2015

Psilocybin-induced spiritual experiences and insightfulness are associated with synchronization of neuronal oscillations

Abstract

Rationale

During the last years, considerable progress has been made toward understanding the neuronal basis of consciousness by using sophisticated behavioral tasks, brain-imaging techniques, and various psychoactive drugs. Nevertheless, the neuronal mechanisms underlying some of the most intriguing states of consciousness, including spiritual experiences, remain unknown.

Objectives

To elucidate state of consciousness-related neuronal mechanisms, human subjects were given psilocybin, a naturally occurring serotonergic agonist and hallucinogen that has been used for centuries to induce spiritual experiences in religious and medical rituals.

Methods

In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 50 healthy human volunteers received a moderate dose of psilocybin, while high-density electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings were taken during eyes-open and eyes-closed resting states. The current source density and the lagged phase synchronization of neuronal oscillations across distributed brain regions were computed and correlated with psilocybin-induced altered states of consciousness.

Results

Psilocybin decreased the current source density of neuronal oscillations at 1.5–20 Hz within a neural network comprising the anterior and posterior cingulate cortices and the parahippocampal regions. Most intriguingly, the intensity levels of psilocybin-induced spiritual experience and insightfulness correlated with the lagged phase synchronization of delta oscillations (1.5–4 Hz) between the retrosplenial cortex, the parahippocampus, and the lateral orbitofrontal area.

Conclusions

These results provide systematic evidence for the direct association of a specific spatiotemporal neuronal mechanism with spiritual experiences and enhanced insight into life and existence. The identified mechanism may constitute a pathway for modulating mental health, as spiritual experiences can promote sustained well-being and psychological resilience.

Kometer, M., Pokorny, T., Seifritz, E., & Vollenweider, F. X. (2015). Psilocybin-induced spiritual experiences and insightfulness are associated with synchronization of neuronal oscillations. Psychopharmacology, 1-14. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-015-4026-7

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LSD-associated "Alice in Wonderland Syndrome"(AIWS): A Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) Case Report.

Abstract

A side effect associated with the use of LSD is the return of perceptual disturbances which anteriorly emerged during intoxication, despite absence of present use. Here we present the case of a patient with a previous history of sporadic and recreational cannabis, alcohol and LSD consumption who reported LSD associated “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome” (AIWS) or Todd’s syndrome. AIWS is basically characterized by four frequent visual illusions: macropsia, micropsia, pelopsia and teleopsia. AIWS only appeared during LSD consumption and continued after LSD suspension, namely, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). This phenomenon did not cause a major functional impairment but provoked sufficient worry and concern due to its persistent continuation. The patient refused medical treatment and continued psychiatric follow-up. At the one year follow-up he reported complete remission. To the best of our knowledge this is the first reported case of AIWS which persist after LSD interruption (HPPD) in the professional literature. Reasons for this intriguing, benign, reversible and apparently harmless side effect are proposed.

Lev-Ran, S. (2014). LSD-associated” Alice in Wonderland Syndrome”(AIWS): A Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) Case Report. The Israel journal of psychiatry and related sciences, 52(1), 67-68.
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LSD-associated “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome”(AIWS): A Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) Case Report.

Abstract

A side effect associated with the use of LSD is the return of perceptual disturbances which anteriorly emerged during intoxication, despite absence of present use. Here we present the case of a patient with a previous history of sporadic and recreational cannabis, alcohol and LSD consumption who reported LSD associated “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome” (AIWS) or Todd’s syndrome. AIWS is basically characterized by four frequent visual illusions: macropsia, micropsia, pelopsia and teleopsia. AIWS only appeared during LSD consumption and continued after LSD suspension, namely, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). This phenomenon did not cause a major functional impairment but provoked sufficient worry and concern due to its persistent continuation. The patient refused medical treatment and continued psychiatric follow-up. At the one year follow-up he reported complete remission. To the best of our knowledge this is the first reported case of AIWS which persist after LSD interruption (HPPD) in the professional literature. Reasons for this intriguing, benign, reversible and apparently harmless side effect are proposed.

Lev-Ran, S. (2014). LSD-associated” Alice in Wonderland Syndrome”(AIWS): A Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) Case Report. The Israel journal of psychiatry and related sciences, 52(1), 67-68.
Link to full text

Psychopharmacological Agents and Suicide Risk Reduction: Ketamine and Other Approaches

Abstract

Suicide is a major global public health problem and the leading cause of injury mortality in the USA. Suicide is a complex phenomenon involving several systems and neurobiological pathways, with interacting genetic and environmental mechanisms. The literature on the neurobiology and pharmacotherapy of suicide has been limited. To date, no medications have proven efficacious for treating acute suicidal crises. There is an emerging literature supporting a rapid anti-suicidal effect of ketamine, a non-competitive N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor antagonist, among depressed patients with suicidal ideation. Potential ketamine’s anti-suicidal effect mechanisms are linked to interruption of the kynurenine pathway and modulating pro-inflammatory cytokines exacerbation. However, available data are not sufficient for its routine integration in clinical practice, and larger and replicated randomized control studies are needed.

Al Jurdi, R. K., Swann, A., & Mathew, S. J. (2015). Psychopharmacological Agents and Suicide Risk Reduction: Ketamine and Other Approaches. Current psychiatry reports, 17(10), 1-10. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11920-015-0614-9

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