In recent times some interesting findings have come to light. These were published recently and really bring a lot to the table.
While a lot of people like LSD and some even believe it has lots of benefits for those who use it, it is still not something we know as much as we might wish we did about. As time passes, we learn more and more, that much will continue to be true for years to come. The findings noted above were posted in NeuroImage under the title ‘LSD alters dynamic integration and segregation in the human brain’ and they really bring forth more questions than most could imagine.
Basically, these findings suggest that LSD in itself is able to help untether the functional connectivity of our brains in ways that we previously were not as aware about. It alters the way our brain handles several things and helps really break away the lines present when it comes to somethings known as integration and segregation. I know, this sounds a bit out there but stay with me.
The abstract of this that was posted by Science Direct goes as follows:
Investigating changes in brain function induced by mind-altering substances such as LSD is a powerful method for interrogating and understanding how mind interfaces with brain, by connecting novel psychological phenomena with their neurobiological correlates. LSD is known to increase measures of brain complexity, potentially reflecting a neurobiological correlate of the especially rich phenomenological content of psychedelic-induced experiences. Yet although the subjective stream of consciousness is a constant ebb and flow, no studies to date have investigated how LSD influences the dynamics of functional connectivity in the human brain. Focusing on the two fundamental network properties of integration and segregation, here we combined graph theory and dynamic functional connectivity from resting-state functional MRI to examine time-resolved effects of LSD on brain networks properties and subjective experiences. Our main finding is that the effects of LSD on brain function and subjective experience are non-uniform in time: LSD makes globally segregated sub-states of dynamic functional connectivity more complex, and weakens the relationship between functional and anatomical connectivity. On a regional level, LSD reduces functional connectivity of the anterior medial prefrontal cortex, specifically during states of high segregation. Time-specific effects were correlated with different aspects of subjective experiences; in particular, ego dissolution was predicted by increased small-world organisation during a state of high global integration. These results reveal a more nuanced, temporally-specific picture of altered brain connectivity and complexity under psychedelics than has previously been reported.
The main finding in all of this according to Andrea Luppi is that ‘the effects of LSD on brain function and subjective experience are not uniform in time.’ This is huge when you really think about it. While LSD does alter our state of consciousness we do not know how it affects our brains as a whole. We are only just now really beginning to comprehend this, honestly. This kind of thing is more and more fascinating as you dive into it.
Gates Cambridge wrote as follows covering information on these findings:
Although the subjective stream of consciousness associated with LSD is not stable, no previous studies have investigated how the compound influences the dynamics of functional connectivity in the human brain.
The researchers focused on the two fundamental brain network properties of integration and segregation, looking at MRI scans of brain network properties affected by LSD and individuals’ subjective experiences.
Their main finding is that the effects of LSD on brain function and subjective experience are not stable in time and that LSD makes globally segregated sub-states of dynamic functional connectivity more complex and weakens the relationship between functional and anatomical connectivity.
They show that LSD has dynamic effects on brain integration , that it frees functional connectivity from the constraint of structural connectivity, that increased small-world character of brain networks predicts ego-dissolution and that LSD increases the complexity of segregated brain states.
They say: “These results reveal a more nuanced, temporally-specific picture of altered brain connectivity and complexity under psychedelics than has previously been reported.”
Andrea , who is doing a PhD in Clinical Neurosciences, states: “The psychedelic compound LSD induces a profoundly altered state of consciousness. Combining pharmacological interventions with non-invasive brain imaging techniques such as functional MRI, can provide insight into normal and abnormal brain function.
“From introspection, we know that the subjective stream of consciousness is a constant ebb and flow – so we explored the dynamic effects of LSD on human brain function, focusing on two key properties: integration and segregation of information in the brain.
What do you think about all of this? I for one am blown away. Who knows what else we may learn in the years to come?