Imperial College London

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Visiting Professor
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 7992r.carhart-harris

 
 
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Assistant

 

Miss Bruna Cunha +44 (0)20 7594 7992

 
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Location

 

Burlington DanesHammersmith Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

133 results found

Timmermann Slater CB, Kettner H, Letheby C, Roseman L, Rosas F, Carhart-Harris Ret al., 2021, Psychedelics alter metaphysical beliefs, Scientific Reports, ISSN: 2045-2322

Journal article

Bornemann J, Close JB, Spriggs MJ, Carhart-Harris R, Roseman Let al., 2021, Self-medication for chronic pain using classic psychedelics: a qualitative investigation to inform future research, Frontiers in Psychiatry, section Psychological Therapies, ISSN: 1664-0640

Background: Chronic Pain is among the leading causes of disability worldwide with up to60% of patients suffering from comorbid depression. Psychedelic-assisted therapy has recentlybeen found effective in treating a host of mental health issues including depression and hashistorically been found to be useful in treating pain. Reports of self-medication for chronic painusing psychedelic drugs have been widely documented, with anecdotal evidence indicatingwidespread success in a range of pathologies. Aims: In preparation for an upcoming trial, tobetter understand how those with lived experience of chronic pain self-medicate withpsychedelic drugs, and to establish, in detail, their therapeutic protocols and practices forsuccess. Methods: As part of patient-involvement (PI) for an upcoming trial in this population,11 individuals who reported self-medicating with psychedelic drugs took part in a one-hoursemi-structured discussion, which was then transcribed and thematically analysed. Results:Across a range of psychedelic substances and doses, reported pain scores improvedsubstantially during and after psychedelic experiences. Two processes, Positive Reframing andSomatic Presence, were reliably identified as playing a role in improvements in mentalwellbeing, relationship with pain, and physical (dis)comfort. Inclusion of other strategies suchas mindfulness, breathwork, and movement were also widely reported. Due to the data’ssubjective nature, this paper is vulnerable to bias and makes no claims on causality orgeneralisability. Together, these results have been used to inform study design for aforthcoming trial. Conclusion: This pre-trial PI work gives us confidence to test psychedelictherapy for chronic pain in a forthcoming controlled trial. The results presented here will beinstrumental in improving our ability to meet the needs of future study participants.

Journal article

Spriggs M, Douglass H, Park R, Read T, Danby J, Magalhaes F, Alderton K, Williams T, Blemings A, Lafrance A, Nicholls D, Erritzoe D, Nutt D, Carhart-Harris Ret al., 2021, Study protocol for “Psilocybin as a Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa: A Pilot Study", Frontiers in Psychiatry, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 1664-0640

Background: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious and life-threatening psychiatric condition. With a paucity of approved treatments, there is a desperate need for novel treatment avenues to be explored. Here, we present 1) an overview of the ways through which Public Patient Involvement (PPI) has informed a trial of psilocybin-assisted therapy for AN and 2) aprotocol for a pilot study of psilocybin-assisted therapy in AN currently underway at Imperial College London. The study aims to assess the feasibility, brain mechanisms and preliminary outcomes of treating anorexia nervosa with psilocybin. Methods: 1) PPI: Across two online focus groups, eleven individuals with lived experience of AN were presented with an overview of the protocol. Their feedback not only identified solutions to possible barriers for future participants, but also helped the research team to better understand the concept of “recovery” from the perspective of those with lived experience. 2) Protocol: Over a 6-week period, twenty female participants (21-65 years old,body mass index (BMI) ³15kg/m2) will receive three oral doses of psilocybin (up to 25 mg) delivered in a therapeutic environment and enveloped by psychological preparation and integration. We will work with participant support networks (care teams and an identified support person) throughout and there will be an extended remote follow-up period of 12 months. Our twofold primary outcomes are 1) psychopathology (Eating Disorder Examination) across the 6-month follow-up and 2) readiness and motivation to engage in recovery (Readiness and Motivation Questionnaire) across the 6-week trial period. Neurophysiological outcome measures will be: 1) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain changes from baseline to 6-week endpoint and 2) post-acute changes in electroencephalography (EEG) activity, including an electrophysiological marker of neuronal plasticity. Discussion: The results of this pilot study will not only shed

Journal article

Close J, Bornemann J, Piggin M, Jayacodi S, Luan L, Carhart-Harris R, Spriggs Met al., 2021, Co-design of guidance for patient and public involvement in psychedelic research, Frontiers in Psychiatry, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 1664-0640

Within the context of scientific research, patient and public involvement (PPI) is defined as research performed ‘with’ or ‘by’patients and members of the public, rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. When carried out systematically and thoughtfully, PPIhas the potential to strengthen the quality and impact of research by fostering accountability, transparency, and relevance. Thereexist numerous guidelines, frameworks and tools for supporting PPI, however, these do not account for the unique challenges facedin psychedelic research. This paper describes the co-design of guidance intended to help build, evaluate and improve PPI inpsychedelic research. A steering group was formed to design and run a co-design workshop alongside public collaborators. Insightsfrom this workshop were analysed and refined into a comprehensive and readily usable guide for planning PPI specific to the fieldof psychedelic research. Core values emerging from the process focused on the essential importance of trust, learning, purposeand inclusivity. It is hoped that this guidance will be a starting point for incorporating PPI in future psychedelic research, so that itcan grow and adapt as this burgeoning field of research progresses.

Journal article

Zamani A, Carhart-Harris R, Christoff K, 2021, Prefrontal contributions to the stability and variability of thought and conscious experience, NEUROPSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, ISSN: 0893-133X

Journal article

Carhart-Harris R, Blemings A, Nutt DJ, 2021, Psilocybin for Depression, NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, Vol: 385, Pages: 863-864, ISSN: 0028-4793

Journal article

Hübner S, Haijen E, Kaelen M, Carhart-Harris R, Kettner HSet al., 2021, Turn on, tune in, and drop out: predictors of attrition in a prospective observational cohort study on psychedelic use, Journal of Medical Internet Research, Vol: 23, ISSN: 1438-8871

Background. The resurgence of research and public interest in the positive psychological effects of psychedelics, together with advancements in digital data collection techniques, have brought forth a new type of research design, gathering large-scale naturalistic data from psychedelic users prospectively, i.e. before and after use of a psychedelic compound. A methodological limitation of such studies is their high attrition rate, caused by participants who stop responding after initial study enrolment. Importantly, study dropout can introduce systematic biases that may affect the interpretability of results. Objective. Based on a previously collected sample (N=654), we here investigated potential determinants of study attrition in prospective psychedelic online research. Methods. Logistic regression models were used to examine demographic, psychological trait and state, and psychedelic-specific predictors of dropout. Predictors were assessed 2 weeks before, one day after, and 2 weeks after the psychedelic experience, with attrition being defined as non-completion of the key endpoint 4 weeks post experience. Results. Predictors of attrition were found among demographic variables, including age and educational level, as well as personality traits, specifically low conscientiousness and high extraversion. Contrary to prior hypotheses, neither baseline attitudes towards psychedelics nor the intensity of acute challenging experiences were predictive of dropout. Conclusions. Baseline predictors of attrition identified here are consistent with those found in longitudinal studies from other scientific disciplines, suggesting their transdisciplinary relevance. Moreover, the lack of an association between attrition and psychedelic advocacy or negative drug experiences in the present sample contextualises concerns about problematic biases in these and related data.

Journal article

Simonsson O, Osika W, Carhart-Harris R, Hendricks PSet al., 2021, Associations between lifetime classic psychedelic use and cardiometabolic diseases, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, Vol: 11, ISSN: 2045-2322

Journal article

Martial C, Fontaine G, Gosseries O, Carhart-Harris R, Timmermann C, Laureys S, Cassol Het al., 2021, Losing the Self in Near-Death Experiences: The Experience of Ego-Dissolution, BRAIN SCIENCES, Vol: 11

Journal article

Kočárová R, Horacek J, Carhart-Harris R, 2021, Does psychedelic therapy have a transdiagnostic action and prophylactic potential?, Frontiers in Psychiatry, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-18, ISSN: 1664-0640

Addressing global mental health is a major twenty-first century challenge. Current treatments have recognised limitations; in this context, new ones that are prophylactic and effective across diagnostic boundaries would represent a major advance. The view that there exists a core of transdiagnostic overlap between psychiatric disorders has re-emerged in recent years, and evidence that psychedelic therapy holds promise for a range of psychiatric disorders supports the position that it may be trans diagnostically effective. Here we propose that psychedelic therapy's core, trans diagnostically relevant action, lies in its ability to increase neuronal and mental plasticity, thus enhancing the potential for change, which we consider to be a key to its therapeutic benefits. Moreover, we suggest that enhanced plasticity via psychedelics, combined with a psychotherapeutic approach, can aid healthy adaptability and resilience, protective factors for long-term well-being. We present candidate neurological , and psychological markers of this plasticity and link them with a predictive processing model of the action of psychedelics. We propose that a model of psychedelic induced plasticity combined with an adequate therapeutic context has prophylactic and transdiagnostic potential, implying that it could have abroad, positive impact on public health.

Journal article

Mans K, Kettner H, Erritzoe D, Haijen ECHM, Kaelen M, Carhart-Harris RLet al., 2021, Sustained, Multifaceted Improvements in Mental Well-Being Following Psychedelic Experiences in a Prospective Opportunity Sample, FRONTIERS IN PSYCHIATRY, Vol: 12, ISSN: 1664-0640

Journal article

Teixeira PJ, Johnson MW, Timmermann C, Watts R, Erritzoe D, Douglass H, Ketner H, Carhart-Harris RLet al., 2021, Psychedelics and health behaviour change, JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, ISSN: 0269-8811

Journal article

Simonsson O, Hendricks PS, Carhart-Harris R, Kettner H, Osika Wet al., 2021, Association Between Lifetime Classic Psychedelic Use and Hypertension in the Past Year, HYPERTENSION, Vol: 77, Pages: 1510-1516, ISSN: 0194-911X

Journal article

Roseman L, Ron Y, Saca A, Ginsberg N, Luan L, Karkabi N, Doblin R, Carhart-Harris Ret al., 2021, Relational processes in Ayahuasca groups of Palestinians and Israelis, Frontiers in Pharmacology, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-18, ISSN: 1663-9812

Psychedelics are used in many group contexts. However, most phenomenological research on psychedelics is focused on personal experiences. This paper presents a phenomenological investigation centred on intersubjective and intercultural relational processes, exploring how an intercultural context affects both the group and individual process. Through 31 in-depth interviews, ceremonies in which Palestinians and Israelis drink ayahuasca together have been investigated. The overarching question guiding this inquiry was how psychedelics might contribute to processes of peacebuilding, and in particular how an intercultural context, embedded in a protracted conflict, would affect the group’s psychedelic process in a relational sense. Analysis of the interviews was based on grounded theory. Three relational themes about multiocal participatory events which occurred during ayahuasca rituals have emerged from the interviews: (1) Unity-Based Connection – collective events in which a feeling of unity and ‘oneness’ is experienced, whereby participants related to each other based upon a sense of shared humanity, and other social identities seemed to dissolve (such as national and religious identities). (2) Recognition and Difference-Based Connection – events where a strong connection was made to the other culture. These events occurred through the expression of the other culture or religion through music or prayers, which resulted in feelings of awe and reverence (3) Conflict-related revelations – events where participants revisited personal or historical traumatic elements related to the conflict, usually through visions. These events were triggered by the presence of ‘the Other’, and there was a political undertone in those personal visions. This inquiry has revealed that psychedelic ceremonies have the potential to contribute to peacebuilding. This can happen not just by ‘dissolution of identities’, but also by provid

Journal article

Carhart-Harris RL, Wagner AC, Agrawal M, Kettner H, Rosenbaum JF, Gazzaley A, Nutt DJ, Erritzoe Det al., 2021, Can pragmatic research, real-world data and digital technologies aid the development of psychedelic medicine?, JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, ISSN: 0269-8811

Journal article

Carhart-Harris R, Giribaldi B, Watts R, Baker-Jones M, Murphy-Beiner A, Murphy R, Martell J, Blemings A, Erritzoe D, Nutt DJet al., 2021, Trial of Psilocybin versus Escitalopram for Depression, NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, Vol: 384, Pages: 1402-1411, ISSN: 0028-4793

Journal article

Jobst BM, Atasoy S, Ponce-Alvarez A, Sanjuan A, Roseman L, Kaelen M, Carhart-Harris R, Kringelbach ML, Deco Get al., 2021, Increased sensitivity to strong perturbations in a whole-brain model of LSD, NEUROIMAGE, Vol: 230, ISSN: 1053-8119

Journal article

Kettner HS, Rosas F, Timmermann C, Kärtner L, Carhart-Harris RL, Roseman Let al., 2021, Psychedelic Communitas: intersubjective experience during psychedelic group sessions predicts enduring changes in psychological wellbeing and social connectedness, Frontiers in Pharmacology, Vol: 12, ISSN: 1663-9812

Background: Recent years have seen a resurgence of research on the potential of psychedelic substances to treat addictive and mood disorders. Historically and contemporarily, psychedelic studies have emphasized the importance of contextual elements ('set and setting') in modulating acute drug effects, and ultimately, influencing long-term outcomes. Nevertheless, current small-scale clinical and laboratory studies have tended to bypass a ubiquitous contextual feature of naturalistic psychedelic use: its social dimension. This study introduces and psychometrically validates an adapted Communitas Scale, assessing acute relational experiences of perceived togetherness and shared humanity, in order to investigate psychosocial mechanisms pertinent to psychedelic ceremonies and retreats.Methods: In this observational, web-based survey study, participants (N = 886) were measured across five successive time-points: 2 weeks before, hours before, and the day after a psychedelic ceremony; as well as the day after, and 4 weeks after leaving the ceremony location. Demographics, psychological traits and state variables were assessed pre-ceremony, in addition to changes in psychological wellbeing and social connectedness from before to after the retreat, as primary outcomes. Using correlational and multiple regression (path) analyses, predictive relationships between psychosocial 'set and setting' variables, communitas, and long-term outcomes were explored.Results: The adapted Communitas Scale demonstrated substantial internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.92) and construct validity in comparison with validated measures of intra-subjective (visual, mystical, challenging experiences questionnaires) and inter-subjective (perceived emotional synchrony, identity fusion) experiences. Furthermore, communitas during ceremony was significantly correlated with increases in psychological wellbeing (r = 0.22), social connectedness (r = 0.25), and other salient mental health outcomes. Path

Journal article

Szigeti B, Kartner L, Blemings A, Rosas F, Feilding A, Nutt DJ, Carhart-Harris RL, Erritzoe Det al., 2021, Self-blinding citizen science to explore psychedelic microdosing, eLife, Vol: 10, Pages: 1-26, ISSN: 2050-084X

Microdosing is the practice of regularly using low doses of psychedelic drugs. Anecdotal reports suggest that microdosing enhances well-being and cognition; however, such accounts are potentially biased by the placebo effect. This study used a ‘self-blinding’ citizen science initiative, where participants were given online instructions on how to incorporate placebo control into their microdosing routine without clinical supervision. The study was completed by 191 participants, making it the largest placebo-controlled trial on psychedelics to-date. All psychological outcomes improved significantly from baseline to after the 4 weeks long dose period for the microdose group; however, the placebo group also improved and no significant between-groups differences were observed. Acute (emotional state, drug intensity, mood, energy, and creativity) and post-acute (anxiety) scales showed small, but significant microdose vs. placebo differences; however, these results can be explained by participants breaking blind. The findings suggest that anecdotal benefits of microdosing can be explained by the placebo effect.

Journal article

Pallavicini C, Cavanna F, Zamberlan F, de la Fuente LA, Ilksoy Y, Perl YS, Arias M, Romero C, Carhart-Harris R, Timmermann C, Tagliazucchi Eet al., 2021, Neural and subjective effects of inhaled N,N-dimethyltryptamine in natural settings, JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, Vol: 35, Pages: 406-420, ISSN: 0269-8811

Journal article

Lawrence DW, Sharma B, Griffiths RR, Carhart-Harris Ret al., 2021, Trends in the Top-Cited Articles on Classic Psychedelics, JOURNAL OF PSYCHOACTIVE DRUGS, ISSN: 0279-1072

Journal article

Nutt D, Carhart-Harris R, 2021, The Current Status of Psychedelics in Psychiatry, JAMA PSYCHIATRY, Vol: 78, Pages: 121-122, ISSN: 2168-622X

Journal article

Kaertner L, Steinborn M, Kettner H, Spriggs M, Roseman L, Buchborn T, Timmermann Slater C, Erritzoe D, Carhart-Harris Ret al., 2021, Positive expectations predict improved mental-health outcomes linked to psychedelic microdosing, Scientific Reports, Vol: 11, ISSN: 2045-2322

Psychedelic microdosing describes the ingestion of near-threshold perceptible doses of classicpsychedelic substances. Anecdotal reports and observational studies suggest that microdosingmay promote positive mood and well-being, but recent placebo-controlled studies failed to fndcompelling evidence for this. The present study collected web-based mental health and related datausing a prospective (before, during and after) design. Individuals planning a weekly microdosingregimen completed surveys at strategic timepoints, spanning a core four-week test period. Eightyone participants completed the primary study endpoint. Results revealed increased self-reportedpsychological well-being, emotional stability and reductions in state anxiety and depressivesymptoms at the four-week primary endpoint, plus increases in psychological resilience, socialconnectedness, agreeableness, nature relatedness and aspects of psychological fexibility. However,positive expectancy scores at baseline predicted subsequent improvements in well-being, suggestiveof a signifcant placebo response. This study highlights a role for positive expectancy in predictingpositive outcomes following psychedelic microdosing and cautions against zealous inferences on itsputative therapeutic value.

Journal article

Sanz C, Pallavicini C, Carrillo F, Zamberlan F, Sigman M, Mota N, Copelli M, Ribeiro S, Nutt D, Carhart-Harris R, Tagliazucchi Eet al., 2021, The entropic tongue: Disorganization of natural language under LSD, CONSCIOUSNESS AND COGNITION, Vol: 87, ISSN: 1053-8100

Journal article

Andersen KAA, Carhart-Harris R, Nutt DJ, Erritzoe Det al., 2020, Therapeutic effects of classic serotonergic psychedelics: A systematic review of modern-era clinical studies, ACTA PSYCHIATRICA SCANDINAVICA, Vol: 143, Pages: 101-118, ISSN: 0001-690X

Journal article

Rosas FE, Mediano PAM, Jensen HJ, Seth AK, Barrett AB, Carhart-Harris RL, Bor Det al., 2020, Reconciling emergences: An information-theoretic approach to identify causal emergence in multivariate data, PLOS COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY, Vol: 16, ISSN: 1553-734X

Journal article

Luppi AI, Mediano PAM, Rosas FE, Allanson J, Pickard JD, Carhart-Harris RL, Williams GB, Craig MM, Finoia P, Owen AM, Naci L, Menon DK, Bor D, Stamatakis EAet al., 2020, A Synergistic Workspace for Human Consciousness Revealed by Integrated Information Decomposition

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>A central goal of neuroscience is to understand how the brain synthesises information from multiple inputs to give rise to a unified conscious experience. This process is widely believed to require integration of information. Here, we combine information theory and network science to address two fundamental questions: how is the human information-processing architecture functionally organised? And how does this organisation support human consciousness? To address these questions, we leverage the mathematical framework of Integrated Information Decomposition to delineate a cognitive architecture wherein specialised modules interact with a “synergistic global workspace,” comprising functionally distinct gateways and broadcasters. Gateway regions gather information from the specialised modules for processing in the synergistic workspace, whose contents are then further integrated to later be made widely available by broadcasters. Through data-driven analysis of resting-state functional MRI, we reveal that gateway regions correspond to the brain’s well-known default mode network, whereas broadcasters of information coincide with the executive control network. Demonstrating that this synergistic workspace supports human consciousness, we further apply Integrated Information Decomposition to BOLD signals to compute integrated information across the brain. By comparing changes due to propofol anaesthesia and severe brain injury, we demonstrate that most changes in integrated information happen within the synergistic workspace. Furthermore, it was found that loss of consciousness corresponds to reduced integrated information between gateway, but not broadcaster, regions of the synergistic workspace. Thus, loss of consciousness may coincide with breakdown of information integration by this synergistic workspace of the human brain. Together, these findings demonstrate that refining our understanding

Journal article

Brouwer A, Carhart-Harris RL, 2020, Pivotal mental states, JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, Vol: 35, Pages: 319-352, ISSN: 0269-8811

Journal article

Leptourgos P, Fortier-Davy M, Carhart-Harris R, Corlett PR, Dupuis D, Halberstadt AL, Kometer M, Kozakova E, Laroi F, Noorani TN, Preller KH, Waters F, Zaytseva Y, Jardri Ret al., 2020, Hallucinations Under Psychedelics and in the Schizophrenia Spectrum: An Interdisciplinary and Multiscale Comparison, SCHIZOPHRENIA BULLETIN, Vol: 46, Pages: 1396-1408, ISSN: 0586-7614

Journal article

Herzog R, Mediano PAM, Rosas FE, Carhart-Harris R, Perl YS, Tagliazucchi E, Cofre Ret al., 2020, A mechanistic model of the neural entropy increase elicited by psychedelic drugs, Scientific Reports, Vol: 10, ISSN: 2045-2322

Psychedelic drugs, including lysergic acid diethylamide and other agonists of the serotonin 2A receptor (5HT2A-R), induce drastic changes in subjective experience, and provide a unique opportunity to study the neurobiological basis of consciousness. One of the most notable neurophysiological signatures of psychedelics, increased entropy in spontaneous neural activity, is thought to be of relevance to the psychedelic experience, mediating both acute alterations in consciousness and long-term effects. However, no clear mechanistic explanation for this entropy increase has been put forward so far. We sought to do this here by building upon a recent whole-brain model of serotonergic neuromodulation, to study the entropic effects of 5HT2A-R activation. Our results reproduce the overall entropy increase observed in previous experiments in vivo, providing the first model-based explanation for this phenomenon. We also found that entropy changes were not uniform across the brain: entropy increased in some regions and decreased in others, suggesting a topographical reconfiguration mediated by 5HT2A-R activation. Interestingly, at the whole-brain level, this reconfiguration was not well explained by 5HT2A-R density, but related closely to the topological properties of the brain's anatomical connectivity. These results help us understand the mechanisms underlying the psychedelic state and, more generally, the pharmacological modulation of whole-brain activity.

Journal article

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