China News Service, Beijing, April 12 (Reporter Sun Zifa) A neuroscience paper recently published in the professional academic journal "Nature-Medicine" under Springer Nature stated that the study found that psilocybin, a natural Existing hallucinogens can induce a therapeutic response in patients with treatment-resistant depression by increasing the connectivity of the brain's functional network.

This mechanism was not observed in the traditional antidepressant drug escitalopram, and the results advance the medical community's understanding of the pathways behind treatment-resistant depression.

  According to the paper, patients with depression often exhibit "negative cognitive bias", which is characterized by pessimism, poor cognitive flexibility, rigid thinking, and negative fixation on "self" and the future. Treatment-resistant depression Major depressive disorder in which multiple courses of antidepressants fail to improve depressive symptoms.

At least six different clinical trials have reported improvements in depressive symptoms after psilocybin treatment, however, the therapeutic mechanism of psilocybin and related hallucinogens has not been fully explained.

  Corresponding author Richard Daws of King's College London, UK, and colleagues collected and analysed brain imaging data from 59 patients in two clinical trials examining the efficacy of psilocybin: the first trial included grouped 16 patients with treatment-resistant depression (median age 42.75 years; 25% were women); the second trial analyzed brain imaging data from 43 patients with major depressive disorder, 22 of whom (median age 44.5 years) ; 36% women) using psilocybin, and another 21 (median age 40.9 years; 29% women) using the traditional antidepressant escitalopram and low-dose psilocybin.

  They found that, overall, psilocybin therapy had rapid, substantial, and long-lasting antidepressant effects that were significantly more effective than escitalopram.

Relief of depressive symptoms was significantly associated with increased connectivity in brain functional networks.

The dramatic changes in the structure of these brain modules suggest that the rapid onset of psilocybin has a "persistent" effect on brain function.

This change was not observed in patients taking escitalopram.

  The authors of the paper believe that the observed phenomenon suggests that psilocybin (and possibly other hallucinogens) has a new mechanism of action that is different from traditional antidepressants.

Specifically, psilocybin therapy may work to relieve symptoms of depression by liberating rigid brain networks and stimulating coordinated and flexible brain functions that are beneficial to mental health.

  The authors of the paper also included a cautionary note on "self-treatment" specifically for their latest study, cautioning that while these findings are encouraging, previous trials evaluating psilocybin for depression have been conducted in controlled clinical settings. It was performed using regulated doses formulated in the laboratory and with extensive psychological support from a mental health professional before, during and after administration.

  They specifically stress that people with depression should not attempt to self-treat with psilocybin, as taking hallucinogenic mushrooms or psilocybin without these careful safeguards may not lead to positive outcomes.

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