Imperial College London

Professor David Nutt DM, FRCP, FRCPsych, FSB, FMedSci

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

The Edmond J Safra Chair in Neuropsychopharmacology
 
 
 
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Contact

 

d.nutt

 
 
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Location

 

Burlington Danes BuildingBurlington DanesHammersmith Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

4 results found

Alamia A, Timmermann C, VanRullen R, Carhart-Harris RLet al., 2020, DMT alters cortical travelling waves, eLife, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 2050-084X

Psychedelic drugs are potent modulators of conscious states and therefore powerful tools for investigating their neurobiology. N,N, Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) can rapidly induce an extremely immersive state of consciousness characterized by vivid and elaborate visual imagery. Here, we investigated the electrophysiological correlates of the DMT-induced altered state from a pool of participants receiving DMT and (separately) placebo (saline) while instructed to keep their eyes closed. Consistent with our hypotheses, results revealed a spatio-temporal pattern of cortical activation (i.e. travelling waves) similar to that elicited by visual stimulation. Moreover, the typical top-down alpha-band rhythms of closed-eyes rest were significantly decreased, while the bottom-up forward wave was significantly increased. These results support a recent model proposing that psychedelics reduce the ‘precision-weighting of priors’, thus altering the balance of top-down versus bottom-up information passing. The robust hypothesis-confirming nature of these findings imply the discovery of an important mechanistic principle underpinning psychedelic-induced altered states.

Journal article

Timmermann Slater CB, Roseman L, Schartner M, Milliere R, Williams L, Erritzoe D, Muthukumaraswamy S, Ashton M, Bendrioua A, Kaur O, Turton S, Nour M, Day C, Leech R, Nutt D, Carhart-Harris R, Timmermann Slater CB, Roseman L, Schartner M, Milliere R, Williams L, Erritzoe D, Muthukumaraswamy S, Ashton M, Bendrioua A, Kaur O, Turton S, Nour M, Day C, Leech R, Nutt D, Carhart-Harris Ret al., 2019, Neural correlates of the DMT experience as assessed with multivariate EEG, Scientific Reports, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 2045-2322

Studying transitions in and out of the altered state of consciousness caused by intravenous (IV) N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT - a fast-acting tryptamine psychedelic) offers a safe and powerful means of advancing knowledge on the neurobiology of conscious states. Here we sought to investigate the effects of IV DMT on the power spectrum and signal diversity of human brain activity (6 female, 7 male) recorded via multivariate EEG, and plot relationships between subjective experience, brain activity and drug plasma concentrations across time. Compared with placebo, DMT markedly reduced oscillatory power in the alpha and beta bands and robustly increased spontaneous signal diversity. Time-referenced neurophenomenological analyses revealed close relationships between changes in various aspects of subjective experience and changes in brain activity. Importantly, the emergence of oscillatory activity within the delta and theta frequency bands was found to correlate with the peak of the experience - particularly its eyes-closed visual component. These findings highlight marked changes in oscillatory activity and signal diversity with DMT that parallel broad and specific components of the subjective experience, thus advancing our understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of immersive states of consciousness.

Journal article

Timmermann C, Roseman L, Schartner M, Milliere R, Williams L, Erritzoe D, Muthukumaraswamy S, Ashton M, Bendrioua A, Kaur O, Turton S, Nour MM, Day CM, Leech R, Nutt D, Carhart-Harris Ret al., 2019, Neural correlates of the DMT experience as assessed via multivariate EEG, Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Studying transitions in and out of the altered state of consciousness caused by intravenous (IV) N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT – a fast-acting tryptamine psychedelic) offers a safe and powerful means of advancing knowledge on the neurobiology of conscious states. Here we sought to investigate the effects of IV DMT on the power spectrum and signal diversity of human brain activity (6 female, 7 male) recorded via multivariate EEG, and plot relationships between subjective experience, brain activity and drug plasma concentrations across time. Compared with placebo, DMT markedly reduced oscillatory power in the <jats:italic>alpha</jats:italic> and <jats:italic>beta</jats:italic> bands and robustly increased spontaneous signal diversity. Time-referenced analyses revealed close relationships between changes in various aspects of subjective experience and changes in brain activity. Importantly, the emergence of oscillatory activity within the delta and theta frequency bands was found to correlate with the peak of the experience, and particularly its eyes-closed visual component. These findings highlight marked changes in oscillatory activity and signal diversity with DMT that parallel broad and specific components of the relevant subjective experience and thus further our understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of immersive states of consciousness.</jats:p>

Working paper

Timmermann C, Timmermann Slater C, Roseman L, Williams L, Erritzoe D, Martial C, Cassol H, Laureys S, Nutt D, Carhart-Harris Ret al., 2018, DMT models the near-death experience, Frontiers in Psychology, Vol: 9, ISSN: 1664-1078

Near-death experiences (NDEs) are complex subjective experiences, which have been previously associated with the psychedelic experience and more specifically with the experience induced by the potent serotonergic, N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Potential similarities between both subjective states have been noted previously, including the subjective feeling of transcending one’s body and entering an alternative realm, perceiving and communicating with sentient ‘entities’ and themes related to death and dying. In this within-subjects placebo-controled study we aimed to test the similarities between the DMT state and NDEs, by administering DMT and placebo to 13 healthy participants, who then completed a validated and widely used measure of NDEs. Results revealed significant increases in phenomenological features associated with the NDE, following DMT administration compared to placebo. Also, we found significant relationships between the NDE scores and DMT-induced ego-dissolution and mystical-type experiences, as well as a significant association between NDE scores and baseline trait ‘absorption’ and delusional ideation measured at baseline. Furthermore, we found a significant overlap in nearly all of the NDE phenomenological features when comparing DMT-induced NDEs with a matched group of ‘actual’ NDE experiencers. These results reveal a striking similarity between these states that warrants further investigation.

Journal article

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