A sample recognition algorithm scoured 6850 accounts of individuals’s experiences with 27 medication to study extra about how they alter consciousness

Well being

16 March 2022

A colour-enhanced scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of Magic mushrooms (Psilocybe cubensis). These spores will grow into the fungus that is Psilocybe cubensis , or the magic mushroom. When ingested, this fungus causes euphoria, hallucinations and altered perception of time. Each spore of this strain is approximately 8 by 11 um. Magnification is x660 when printed 10 cm wide.

A color-enhanced scanning electron microscope picture of magic mushroom spores


Synthetic intelligence has been used to analyse 1000’s of written studies of private experiences with psychoactive medication to achieve a greater understanding of their subjective results and the way they work within the mind.

Psychedelic medication reminiscent of LSD, ketamine and psilocybin – the energetic compound in magic mushrooms – are being investigated as remedies for a variety of situations, together with despair, dependancy and post-traumatic stress dysfunction. The experiences they induce, which can be necessary for his or her therapeutic results, are extremely variable, and might embrace visible and auditory hallucinations, an altered sense of self and a distorted notion of time.

Danilo Bzdok at McGill College in Montreal, Canada, and his colleagues used a pattern-recognition algorithm to scour 6850 accounts of experiences submitted on the web site Erowid, involving 27 totally different medication.

They linked phrases used within the accounts for every drug, reminiscent of “euphoria”, “nausea” or “visuals”, with any of 40 receptors within the mind that the drug is thought to work together with, and mapped drug results onto areas of the mind the place these receptors are most energetic.

The researchers, who weren’t out there for interview, hope their work will assist establish medication which will induce explicit subjective results, and supply a framework for creating new remedies primarily based on psychedelic medication sooner or later.

Daniel Barron at Brigham and Ladies’s Hospital in Boston, who wasn’t concerned on this research, says that whereas this software isn’t but prepared for scientific use, it exhibits promise. “The core thought is that when you can decide {that a} given drug and mind perform have a predictable relationship, this paves the best way to understanding whether or not that change and subsequently that drug is clinically helpful,” he says.

“The cultural historical past suggests there’s quite a lot of potential tied up in these psychoactive medication, however any scientific utility would require that the fitting drug be prescribed on the proper dose to the fitting affected person on the proper time,” he says.

Journal reference: Science Advances, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abl6989

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