Mind-altering mushrooms can 'reboot' brain to treat depression
'Magic' mushrooms can treat depression by "rebooting" the brain, research suggests.
Scientists tested the drug psilocybin, found in the mushrooms, on 19 depressed patients who could not be helped by conventional treatments.
The patients reported an immediate mood improvement described as an "afterglow effect" that lasted up to five weeks. Brain scans indicated the drug had reset the activity of key neural circuits known to play a role in depression.
Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research at Imperial College London, said: "Several of our patients described feeling 'reset' after the treatment and often used computer analogies. For example, one said he felt like his brain had been 'defragged' like a computer hard drive, and another said he felt 'rebooted'."
The drug may be giving patients the "kick-start" they need to break out of their depression, he said. Magic mushrooms containing psilocybin can cause hallucinations, changes in perception and an altered sense of time. The study was reported in the journal 'Scientific Reports'.