The Loh Down On Science

Tripping the Brain Fantastic

Science ... on ’shrooms!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, tripping across the blood-brain barrier with hallucinogenic fungi!

British researchers enlisted healthy volunteers who agreed to ingest small amounts of psilocybin--the ingredient that puts the magic in magic mushrooms. While they entered altered states of consciousness, their brains were scanned.

The scientists measured brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, which tracks blood flow through the noggin. They'd expected to see changes--like maybe activity surges in brain areas related to vision, which might explain those wacky hallucinations.

But that didn't happen. Psilocybin, according to the scans, decreased blood flow to hubs that connect different parts of the brain, like train stations for gray matter!

Without the hub managing those connections, the researchers say, the brain can freely cogitate ... without constraint.

In other words, opening those good ole doors of perception makes part of the real world slam shut--or at least get less blood.

Which means--oh, the shagadelic walls of my college dorm room didn't really melt. Far out!



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