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The neuroscientific study of hallucinogens

The neuroscientific study of hallucinogens
Recently, an important and landmark paper was published in PLoS ONE (hooray open access!) titled, "Investigating the Mechanisms of Hallucinogen-Induced Visions Using 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA): A Randomized Controlled Trial in Humans". It sounds daunting, but trust me, it's a very cool, approachable study. Now, in the spirit of full-disclosure, the lead author Dr. Matthew Baggott (hereafter referred to as "Matt"), is a friend of mine from grad school and he's been kind enough to grant me a very thorough interview for this post. The interview is quite long, so I'll give a brief overview of the research and some of Matt's comments, but I've posted the entire interview at the bottom of this post. At the bottom of this post you will also find an hour-long YouTube interview with Matt about his research as part of "Dr. That said, my real-life association with Matt is not biasing my opening statement; his paper is truly landmark for many reasons. I think you hit the nail on the head.

http://blog.ketyov.com/2010/12/neuroscientific-study-of-hallucinogens_09.html

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Stimulating brain with electricity aids learning speed 20 September 2011Last updated at 11:52 By Leila Battison Science reporter The brain can change its structure in response to experience and practice Electrically stimulating the brain can help to speed up the process of learning, scientists have shown. Applying a small current to specific parts of the brain can increase its activity, making learning easier. Rubin Museum of Art:Brainwave 2010 If you are only now catching up with Brainwave, or you want to revisit some of the best of the last seven years, this ten-episode DVD is available at the museum’s Shop or online at What happens in our brains when we attempt to overcome adversity, survive tests of endurance and stay focused under pressure? This is the subject of the seventh annual Brainwave, a series of on-stage conversations, films and experiences. Tickets Brainwave programs tend to sell out, so advance purchase is strongly recommended.

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Wellcome Image of the Month: Celebration of the brain Recently, the Wellcome Trust supported a play called 2401 Objects. It tells the story of Henry Molaison, who suffered from epilepsy and underwent experimental surgery in an attempt to cure his frequent and often disruptive seizures. Unbeknown to Henry at the time, the operation was set to become one of the most influential case studies in the history of neuroscience research. Patient HM, as Henry later became known within the research community, provided a rare but hugely powerful insight into the cognitive and neural organisation of memory, both experimentally and theoretically. So, with a new academic term on the horizon – a time when we all need some gentle memory jogging to remember what we were actually working on pre-holiday – we thought it only appropriate to highlight this historical representation of the brain as our Image of the Month for September, and in doing so capture the story of one of the most famous brains in neuroscience. Henry died on December 2nd 2008.

Create Digital Motion » Code as Art: Generative Visual Inspirati Generative works from Keith Peters, on his new Art from Code site. As code literacy improves and coding tools like Processing and Flash make it easier to produce stunning visual results, the line between the coder/hacker and digital artist, and more conventional artists, is blurring fast. The next trend: networks and blogs on which people share not just their work, but the code behind it. The idea is old, but there’s no question the breadth of content and number of participants is expanding – and beginners are welcome, too. The Flash Virtuoso, and Galleries vs. Code Repositories A Neuroscientist Explains How Meditation Changes Your Brain Do you struggle, like me, with monkey-mind? Is your brain also a little unsettled, restless, capricious, whimsical, fanciful, inconstant, confused, indecisive, or uncontrollable? That’s the definition of “monkey mind” I’ve been given! If you need more motivation to take up this transformative practice, neuroscience research has shown that meditation and mindfulness training can cause neuroplastic changes to the gray matter of your brain. A group of Harvard neuroscientists interested in mindfulness meditation have reported that brain structures change after only eight weeks of meditation practice. Sara Lazar, Ph.D., the study’s senior author, said in a press release,

MindToys » Blog Archive » Toys for your Mind , hi-tech toys, gadgets and gizmos Home » Brain waves, Featured, Headline 15 January 201012,385 viewsNo Comment We are about to make history. It’s not a telepathy device, it’s called the brain-to-brain communication experiment, or B2B. Dr Christopher James, a pioneering biomedical engineer at Southampton University, and his invention makes fact out of science fiction. In the future we will communicating via thinking.

The Brain: How The Brain Rewires Itself It was a fairly modest experiment, as these things go, with volunteers trooping into the lab at Harvard Medical School to learn and practice a little five-finger piano exercise. Neuroscientist Alvaro Pascual-Leone instructed the members of one group to play as fluidly as they could, trying to keep to the metronome's 60 beats per minute. Every day for five days, the volunteers practiced for two hours. Then they took a test. At the end of each day's practice session, they sat beneath a coil of wire that sent a brief magnetic pulse into the motor cortex of their brain, located in a strip running from the crown of the head toward each ear. The so-called transcranial-magnetic-stimulation (TMS) test allows scientists to infer the function of neurons just beneath the coil.

Sculpture - News January 30 A new multi-part, multi-material thing: And the pieces are like this: Like the Tetrabox piece last month, which went well and is now in stock, this one is held together with rare-earth magnets and improved with glow-in-the-dark glass. December 24 Harvard Study Unveils What Meditation Literally Does To The Brain Numerous studies have indicated the many physiological benefits of meditation, and the latest one comes from Harvard University. An eight week study conducted by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) determined that meditation literally rebuilds the brains grey matter in just eight weeks. It’s the very first study to document that meditation produces changes over time in the brain’s grey matter. (1) “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day. This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.” – (1) Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School Instructor in Psychology

Brain Oscillations Reveal We Experience the World in Rapid Snapshots Neuroscientists from the University of Glasgow have demonstrated that our brains experience the world in discrete snapshots determined by the cycles of brain rhythms. While studying a brain rhythm associated with visual cortex, they used a “simple trick” to affect and “reset” the oscillations of this rhythm. It has long been suspected that humans do not experience the world continuously, but rather in rapid snapshots. Now, researchers at the University of Glasgow have demonstrated this is indeed the case. Just as the body goes through a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle controlled by a circadian clock, brain function undergoes such cyclic activity – albeit at a much faster rate.

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