WE FINALLY KNOW HOW GENERAL ANESTHESIA WORKS

(Credit: Getty Images) BY MARLA BROADFOOT-DUKE In a new study,researchers found that to knock you out, different anesthesia drugs hijack the neural circuitry that makes you fall sleep. The discovery of general anesthesia 170 years ago was a medical miracle, enabling millions of patients to undergo invasive, life-saving surgeries without pain. General anesthesia drugs induce unconsciousness by activating a tiny cluster of cells at the base of the brain called the supraoptic nucleus (shown in red), while the rest of the brain remains in a mostly inactive state (blue). (Credit: Duke) For the study, which appears in Neuron, researchers traced this neural … Continue reading WE FINALLY KNOW HOW GENERAL ANESTHESIA WORKS

Do Microdoses of LSD Change Your Mind?

Credit: Getty Images A rigorous study has intriguing results By Sam Rose You’ve probably heard about microdosing, the “productivity hack” popular among Silicon Valley engineers and business leaders. Microdosers take regular small doses of LSD or magic mushrooms. At these doses, they don’t experience mind-bending, hallucinatory trips, but they say they get a jolt in creativity and focus that can elevate work performance, help relationships, and generally improve a stressful and demanding daily life. If its proponents are to be believed, microdosing offers the cure for an era dominated by digital distractions and existential anxiety—a cup of coffee with a little Tony Robbins stirred in. So far, … Continue reading Do Microdoses of LSD Change Your Mind?

Human Drugs Are Polluting the Water—And Animals Are Swimming in It

ESTHER AARTS Salmon on psychotropics, platypuses on prozac, and other strange tales from the wild by REBECCA GIGGS What impels small salmon, called smolts, out of their nursery brooks to the ocean? Across thousands of miles, the fish transmogrify from fingerlings into trollish adults—hook-jawed, toothy, and, in the case of many males, humpbacked. Though reversing the journey does not rescind their metamorphosis, the big fish famously return, waggling against currents, vaulting over dams, and pushing together, like a blade, toward the very gravel beds where, years earlier, they hatched. The salmon “pulse,” as some people describe this recurrent migration, is … Continue reading Human Drugs Are Polluting the Water—And Animals Are Swimming in It

There Sure Is a Lot of Poop in Weed, Study Says

Photo: Sean Gallup (Getty) by Jennings Brown If you need another reason to advocate for the legalization of marijuana—a new study shows why weed sold illegally on the street is more likely to have unacceptable levels of feces in it. Scientists at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid gathered 90 samples of cannabis from street dealers in and around Madrid, then tested the products to determine if they were “suitable for human consumption.” The results, published in the latest issue of Forensic Science International, found that 83 percent of the tested samples were not suitable. Because they had too much shit in … Continue reading There Sure Is a Lot of Poop in Weed, Study Says

There’s Evidence Coffee Acts on Your Brain Like Cannabis, But in Reverse

by MIKE MCRAE Coffee, the world’s most common recreational drug, affects our metabolism far more deeply than we realised, according to a recent study. The results describe a number of knock-on effects that impact upon several important body systems, suggesting our daily coffee habit might have a complex range of benefits and risks to our health. It seems hardly a month goes by when there’s a new discovery that coffee is either good for our health and helps you live a longer life, or a potential danger and cancer risk. In between the hype and the headlines, the truth is always more complicated. And this 2018 … Continue reading There’s Evidence Coffee Acts on Your Brain Like Cannabis, But in Reverse

Hallucinogen Therapy Is Coming

How shrooms can spring people from fears and destructive habits. BY MOISES VELASQUEZ-MANOFF  ILLUSTRATION BY AMANDA BAEZA Three years later Daniel Kreitman still chokes up when he talks about what he saw, and how it changed him. Kreitman, an upholsterer by trade, had taken psilocybin, a hallucinogen derived from mushrooms, in a trial at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for nicotine addiction. He was 52, and he’d smoked between one and two packs a day for nearly 40 years. After his first psilocybin session, his urge to smoke was gone. During his third and final session, he had the … Continue reading Hallucinogen Therapy Is Coming

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SEROTONIN

by Jacob Devaney, Gues Waking Times As we dive into the complex and beautiful neurochemical cocktail that fuels our brains, serotonin is a bit of an enigma. Research shows that serotonin plays an important role in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, and dreaming. It can have both a sedating or stimulating effect and this is somehow related to the flow of thoughts through your mind. Though neuroscience is in its infancy, we can still gain a lot of personal insight through exploring research being conducted across a number of fields, and comparing it to what we have felt or experienced internally. So … Continue reading THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SEROTONIN