Addiction has always played a role in my family’s life. I find how drugs effect your brain to be very interesting. I found this article talking about the effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide otherwise known as LSD very interesting. LSD was first synthesized in 1938. The psychological properties weren’t clear until 1943 and the drug was banned in 1960. The things that this study found are said to be groundbreaking for the neuroscience field.
The study included 20 volunteers who were mentally and physically healthy and agreed to take LSD for science. The group was split up into two days. One day the volunteers received 75 mcg of LSD and the other day volunteers received a placebo. The volunteers were injected with LSD and put through three different imaging techniques. The volunteers reported a oneness with the universe as well as many visual hallucinations. They also experienced many different pictures that researchers were able to track from parts of the brain other than the visual cortex. Researchers also found that areas of the brain that are normally segregated, communicated with each other. As well as areas that normally communicate, were sometimes segregated. This is what is believed to create the feeling of oneness with the universe and the loss of personality known as “ego-dissolution.”
David Nutt, senior researcher on this study said “The findings of this study is to neuroscience what the Higgs boson was to particle physics.” He also stated that neuroscience as a field has waited for these findings for 50 years.
After being injected with the LSD or placebo, volunteers were put through three different kinds of brain imaging: arterial spin labelling, resting state MRI, and magnetoencephalography. The researchers also measured blood flow, connections within and between brain networks, and brain waves of all of the volunteers.
The volunteers on LSD were “seeing with their eyes shut,” which explains the hallucinations and the seeing images from different parts of the brain. The scans also showed a loss of connection between the parahippocampus and the retrosplenial cortex. The drug is also thought to reverse the restricted thinking we learn as early as childhood and throughout adulthood.
The drug is now being studied to see if it could possibly help patients with psychiatric disorders.