This talk will describe the history and progress of a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) project investigating the effects of intravenous psilocybin on brain activation and blood flow. It will describe how the project began, its present status, what researchers are investigating, what they expect to find and what they have found so far. The project is part of a broader initia- tive to test and develop the validity of abstract constructs of relevance to the psychedelic state (e.g., the ego, the unconscious mind, primary process thinking and the mystical-type experi- ence). The talk will include preliminary data from subjects scanned before and during the administration of psilocybin (2mg i.v.) and placebo (saline, i.v.) using the fMRI technique for measuring cerebral blood flow, arterial spin labelling (ASL).
Biography of Presenter:Robin Carhart-Harris, Ph.D
., after completing a Masters in Psychoanalysis in 2005, applied to the Psychopharmacology Unit, University of Bristol, UK, headed by Professor David Nutt, to study for a Ph.D. on the topic of fMRI, psychedelic drugs and Freudian theory. Carhart-Harris was advised by David Nutt that this project was too ambitious at this stage but that he could instead study for a Ph.D. on the topic of MDMA, serotonin and sleep EEG. While completing his Ph.D. in 2008, he obtained the necessary approvals and some initial funding to carry out the fMRI work, and in 2009 his team completed a small scale pilot study, in which they administered intravenous psilocybin to nine volunteers in a mock-fMRI setting. They are currently on course to begin the fMRI scanning in the coming weeks, and this talk will report on their progress and the wider theoretical aims of the project. This work has the col- laborative support of the Beckley Foundation, the Neuropsycho- analysis Foundation, Prof. Karl Friston of University College Lon- don, Prof. Richard Wise of Cardiff University and Prof. David Nutt
of Imperial College London – for whom Carhart-Harris continues to work.
Date of original release: April 18, 2010
Termination date (date after which enduring material is no longer certified for credit): April 17, 2012
Robin Carhart-Harris- Using fMRI to investigate the effects of psilocybin on brain activation and blood ?ow from MAPS: Psychedelic Science on Vimeo.
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