In a study published in April, researchers created a realistic whole-brain model, also known as a “whole-brain connectome” — basically, a picture of all the neurons ticking away in the brain and the different neurotransmitters that they are constantly lugging around. They used this to model how the human brain looks on psilocybin.
The team incorporated images of the brains of the study’s nine participants, who had been injected with psilocybin (or a saline placebo).
Using the model allowed the scientists to study exactly how psilocybin affects the brain. The team saw that, when psilocybin was introduced, it disrupted networks in the brain — they became “destabilized” — and forced the neurotransmitters to find new pathways between brain cells.
“We wanted to investigate the role of neurotransmission in dynamically changing the activity in whole-brain networks — and how this changes neurotransmitter release in return,” Morten Kringlebach, the study’s first author and a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford, told Inverse.
Published: December 27, 2020
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