Tech & Science Psychedelic Drugs Biology mental illness Psychedelic drugs are known to produce mind-altering effects, which can lead to profound changes in consciousness. But according to a study published in the journal Cell Reports, these compounds may alter the structure of the brain in a physical sense as well. Researchers from the University of California, Davis (UCD), found that psychedelic compounds such as LSD, DMT and MDMA, can increase the number of connections between brain cells, or neurons. These findings are promising because they suggest that psychedelics could be used to repair the malfunctioning brain circuits observed in people with mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “We’ve known for a long time that psychedelics can profoundly impact brain function,” David Olson, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular … [Read more...] about Psychedelics May Physically Alter the Structure of the Brain
Effects on the brain
You've probably heard of the brain's reward network. It's activated by basic needs — including food, water and sex — and releases a surge of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine when those needs are met. But it can also be hijacked by drugs, which lead to a greater dopamine release than those basic needs. But the reward network isn't the only brain network altered by drug use. A new review concluded that drug addiction affects six main brain networks: the reward, habit, salience, executive, memory and self-directed networks. In 2016, a total of 20.1 million people ages 12 and older in the U.S. had a substance-use disorder, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual survey on drug use. And drug addiction, regardless of the substance used, had surprisingly similar effects on the addicted brain, said the new review, published yesterday (June 6) in the journal Neuron. The review looked at more than 100 studies and review papers on drug addiction, … [Read more...] about How Drug Addiction Hijacks the Brain
Not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to your health; many studies even link the lack of Z's to higher odds of dying during a certain time period. But a new study from Sweden suggests that if you can't sleep as much as you need during the week, you may be able to make up for it on the weekends. The researchers found that people ages 65 and under who slept 5 hours or less a night had a 65 percent higher risk of death during the 13-year study period than those who got 6 or 7 hours of sleep a night. But individuals who balanced their short weekday sleep with longer weekend sleep did not appear to have any increased mortality risk. The findings suggest, in other words, that you may be able to make up for the damaging effects of lost sleep. [5 Surprising Sleep Discoveries] "We can't really say 100 percent we have proven this, but it's a reasonable assumption that this is what's happening," said lead study author Torbjörn Åkerstedt, a professor of behavioral … [Read more...] about Can you make up for lost sleep on the weekend?
IT was the dress which sparked a global debate. Now scientists have finally explained why people couldn't agree on the colour of "that dress'. When the dress went viral in 2015, millions of people - including fashionistas Taylor Swift and Gigi Hadid - were divided whether its true colours were gold and white or black and blue. Now, in a new study, neuroscientist Doctor Pascal Wallisch concludes that the differences in perception are down to our assumptions about how the dress was illuminated. Those who thought that the dress, worn by the mother of a bride at a wedding in Scotland, was photographed in a shadow most likely saw the garment as gold and white. But those who thought it was illuminated by artificial light were more likely to see it as black and blue. He suggested these differing perceptions could be linked to a person's exposure to daylight. People who get up and go to bed early, and spend many of their waking hours in sunlight are more likely to see the dress as white … [Read more...] about Scientists have FINALLY explained why people couldn’t agree on the colour of ‘that dress’
Once, we believed that the body was a machine, and the secret to optimal performance came from the muscles, the lungs, the heart. Then, we were told that it’s all in our head, and we just need to push through the pain. The truth is that “the brain and the body are fundamentally intertwined,” writes Alex Hutchinson, a fitness journalist (with a doctorate in physics) who competed for the Canadian national team as a runner. To understand the limits of the human body, you have to consider them together. Hutchinson is the author of Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, out this month from HarperCollins. In the eight years he worked on the book, he traveled to labs all over the world and spoke to hundreds of athletes and scientists about how the mind and body influence each other and the role that each plays in the “mystery of endurance.” The Verge spoke with Hutchinson about the dueling theories of endurance, nature versus … [Read more...] about The role of the brain when it comes to the limits of human endurance