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  • Journal article
    Godfrey K, Muthukumaraswamy SD, Stinear CM, Hoeh NRet al., 2024,

    Resting-state EEG connectivity recorded before and after rTMS treatment in patients with treatment-resistant depression.

    , Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging, Vol: 338

    Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has shown efficacy and tolerability in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). However, the underlying mechanisms of its antidepressant effects remain unclear. This open-label study investigated electroencephalography (EEG) functional connectivity markers associated with response and the antidepressant effects of rTMS. Resting-state EEG data were collected from 28 participants with MDD before and after a four-week rTMS course. Source-space functional connectivity between 38 cortical regions was compared using an orthogonalised amplitude approach. Depressive symptoms significantly improved following rTMS, with 43 % of participants classified as responders. While the study's functional connectivity findings did not withstand multiple comparison corrections, exploratory analyses suggest an association between theta band connectivity and rTMS treatment mechanisms. Fronto-parietal theta connectivity increased after treatment but did not correlate with antidepressant response. Notably, low baseline theta connectivity was associated with greater response. However, due to the exploratory nature and small sample size, further replication is needed. The findings provide preliminary evidence that EEG functional connectivity, particularly within the theta band, may reflect the mechanisms by which rTMS exerts its therapeutic effects.

  • Journal article
    Mediano PAM, Rosas FE, Timmermann C, Roseman L, Nutt DJ, Feilding A, Kaelen M, Kringelbach ML, Barrett AB, Seth AK, Muthukumaraswamy S, Bor D, Carhart-Harris RLet al., 2024,

    Effects of External Stimulation on Psychedelic State Neurodynamics.

    , ACS Chem Neurosci, Vol: 15, Pages: 462-471

    Recent findings have shown that psychedelics reliably enhance brain entropy (understood as neural signal diversity), and this effect has been associated with both acute and long-term psychological outcomes, such as personality changes. These findings are particularly intriguing, given that a decrease of brain entropy is a robust indicator of loss of consciousness (e.g., from wakefulness to sleep). However, little is known about how context impacts the entropy-enhancing effect of psychedelics, which carries important implications for how it can be exploited in, for example, psychedelic psychotherapy. This article investigates how brain entropy is modulated by stimulus manipulation during a psychedelic experience by studying participants under the effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or placebo, either with gross state changes (eyes closed vs open) or different stimuli (no stimulus vs music vs video). Results show that while brain entropy increases with LSD under all of the experimental conditions, it exhibits the largest changes when subjects have their eyes closed. Furthermore, brain entropy changes are consistently associated with subjective ratings of the psychedelic experience, but this relationship is disrupted when participants are viewing a video─potentially due to a "competition" between external stimuli and endogenous LSD-induced imagery. Taken together, our findings provide strong quantitative evidence of the role of context in modulating neural dynamics during a psychedelic experience, underlining the importance of performing psychedelic psychotherapy in a suitable environment.

  • Journal article
    Timmermann Slater CB, Zeifman R, Erritzoe D, Nutt D, Carhart-Harris Ret al., 2024,

    Effects of DMT on mental health outcomes in healthy volunteers

    , Scientific Reports, ISSN: 2045-2322
  • Journal article
    Barba T, Kettner H, Radu C, Peill J, Roseman L, Nutt D, Erritzoe D, Carhart-Harris R, Cunha Bet al., 2024,

    Psychedelics and sexual functioning: a mixed-methods study

    , Scientific Reports, Vol: 14, ISSN: 2045-2322

    Do psychedelics affect sexual functioning postacutely? Anecdotal and qualitative evidence suggests they do, but this has never been formally tested. While sexual functioning and satisfaction are generally regarded as an important aspect of human wellbeing, sexual dysfunction is a common symptom of mental health disorders. It is also a common side effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a first line treatment for depression. The aim of the present paper was to investigate the post-acute effects of psychedelics on self-reported sexual functioning, combining data from two independent studies, one large and naturalistic and the other a smaller but controlled clinical trial. Naturalistic use of psychedelics was associated with improvements in several facets of sexual functioning and satisfaction, including improved pleasure and communication during sex, satisfaction with one’s partner and physical appearance. Convergent results were found in a controlled trial of psilocybin therapy versus an SSRI, escitalopram, for depression. In this trial, patients treated with psilocybin reported positive changes in sexual functioning after treatment, while patients treated with escitalopram did not. Despite focusing on different populations and settings, this is the first research study to quantitively investigate the effects of psychedelics on sexual functioning. Results imply a potential positive effect on post-acute sexual functioning and highlight the need for more research on this.

  • Journal article
    Kusudo K, Tani H, Yonezawa K, Nakajima S, Nour MM, Carhart-Harris R, Uchida Het al., 2024,

    Development of the Japanese version of the Ego-Dissolution Inventory (EDI).

    , Neuropsychopharmacol Rep

    AIM: Psychedelics have recently gained attention as potential therapeutic agents for various psychiatric disorders. Previous research has highlighted that a diminished sense of self, commonly termed "ego-dissolution" is a pivotal feature of the psychedelic-induced state. While the Ego-Dissolution Inventory (EDI) is a widely acknowledged instrument for measuring this phenomenon, no Japanese version has been available. This study aimed to develop a Japanese version of the EDI. METHODS: We adhered to the "Guidelines for Best Practices in the Translation and Cultural Modification Process for Patient-Reported Outcomes Instruments: Document from the ISPOR Committee on Translation and Cultural Modification" during our translation approach. Two Japanese psychiatrists independently conducted initial translations, and a consolidated version was achieved via mutual agreement. This version was then back-translated to English and assessed by the original authors for consistency. The repetitive modification process was conducted in continuous dialogues with the original authors until they accepted the concluding back-translated version. RESULTS: The finalized, approved back-translated version of the EDI is presented in the accompanying figure. In addition, the authorized Japanese version of the EDI is included in the Appendix. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we successfully developed the Japanese version of the EDI. This instrument will assist in assessing ego-dissolution experiences associated with psychedelic-assisted therapy among Japanese speakers. Additional studies are necessary to evaluate the reliability and validity of this newly translated instrument.

  • Journal article
    Murphy RJ, Godfrey K, Shaw AD, Muthukumaraswamy S, Sumner RLet al., 2024,

    Modulation of long-term potentiation following microdoses of LSD captured by thalamo-cortical modelling in a randomised, controlled trial.

    , BMC Neurosci, Vol: 25

    BACKGROUND: Microdosing psychedelics is a phenomenon with claimed cognitive benefits that are relatively untested clinically. Pre-clinically, psychedelics have demonstrated enhancing effects on neuroplasticity, which cannot be measured directly in humans, but may be indexed by non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG) paradigms. This study used a visual long-term potentiation (LTP) EEG paradigm to test the effects of microdosed lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) on neural plasticity, both acutely while on the drug and cumulatively after microdosing every third day for six weeks. Healthy adult males (n = 80) completed the visual LTP paradigm at baseline, 2.5 h following a dose of 10 µg of LSD or inactive placebo, and 6 weeks later after taking 14 repeated microdoses. Visually induced LTP was used as indirect index of neural plasticity. Surface level event-related potential (ERPs) based analyses are presented alongside dynamic causal modelling of the source localised data using a generative thalamocortical model (TCM) of visual cortex to elucidate underlying synaptic circuitry. RESULTS: Event-related potential (ERP) analyses of N1b and P2 components did not show evidence of changes in visually induced LTP by LSD either acutely or after 6 weeks of regular dosing. However modelling the complete timecourse of the ERP with the TCM demonstrated changes in laminar connectivity in primary visual cortex. This primarily included changes to self-gain and inhibitory input parameters acutely. Layer 2/3 to layer 5 excitatory connectivity was also different between LSD and placebo groups. After regular dosing only excitatory input from layer 2/3 into layer 5 and inhibitory input into layer 4 were different between groups. CONCLUSIONS: Without modulation of the ERPs it is difficult to relate the findings to other studies visually inducing LTP. It also indicates the classic peak analysis may not be sensitive enough to demonstrate evidence for changes

  • Journal article
    Barbut Siva J, Barba T, Kettner H, Kuc J, Nutt DJ, Carhart-Harris R, Erritzoe Det al., 2024,

    Interactions between classic psychedelics and serotonergic antidepressants: Effects on the acute psychedelic subjective experience, well-being and depressive symptoms from a prospective survey study.

    , J Psychopharmacol, Vol: 38, Pages: 145-155

    BACKGROUND: There is growing evidence for the therapeutic effects of psychedelics. However, it is still uncertain how these drugs interact with serotonergic antidepressants (serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs)). OBJECTIVE: This study explores the interaction between psychedelics and SRIs in terms of therapeutic effects. The objective is to compare acute psychedelic effects and subsequent changes in well-being and depressive symptoms among 'SRI -' individuals (not on psychiatric medication) and 'SRI +' individuals (undergoing SRI treatment). METHODS: Using prospective survey data, the study employs multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) and linear mixed effect models to analyse subjective differences and changes in well-being and depressive symptoms pre- and post-psychedelic experiences. RESULTS: Results indicate that 'SRI -' participants experience significantly more intense subjective effects compared to 'SRI +' participants (F = 3.200, p = 0.016) in MANCOVA analysis. Further analysis reveals 'SRI -' individuals report stronger mystical (18.2% higher, p = 0.048), challenging (50.9% higher, p = 0.001) and emotional breakthrough experiences (31.9% higher, p = 0.02) than 'SRI +' individuals. No differences are observed in drug-induced visual effects (p = 0.19). Both groups exhibited similar improvements in well-being and depressive symptoms after the psychedelic experience. CONCLUSION: Individuals presumed to be on serotonergic antidepressants during psychedelic use display reduced subjective effects but similar antidepressant effects compared to those not undergoing SRI treatment. Further controlled research is needed to comprehend the interplay between serotonergic antidepressants and psychedelics, illuminating potential therapeutic benefits and limitations in clinical contexts.

  • Journal article
    Szigeti B, Weiss B, Rosas FE, Erritzoe D, Nutt D, Carhart-Harris Ret al., 2024,

    Assessing expectancy and suggestibility in a trial of escitalopram v. psilocybin for depression.

    , Psychol Med, Pages: 1-8

    BACKGROUND: To investigate the association between pre-trial expectancy, suggestibility, and response to treatment in a trial of escitalopram and investigational drug, COMP360, psilocybin, in the treatment of major depressive disorder (ClinicalTrials.gov registration: NCT03429075). METHODS: We used data (n = 55) from our recent double-blind, parallel-group, randomized head-to-head comparison trial of escitalopram and investigational drug, COMP360, psilocybin. Mixed linear models were used to investigate the association between pre-treatment efficacy-related expectations, as well as baseline trait suggestibility and absorption, and therapeutic response to both escitalopram and COMP360 psilocybin. RESULTS: Patients had significantly higher expectancy for psilocybin relative to escitalopram; however, expectancy for escitalopram was associated with improved therapeutic outcomes to escitalopram, expectancy for psilocybin was not predictive of response to psilocybin. Separately, we found that pre-treatment trait suggestibility was associated with therapeutic response in the psilocybin arm, but not in the escitalopram arm. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our results suggest that psychedelic therapy may be less vulnerable to expectancy biases than previously suspected. The relationship between baseline trait suggestibility and response to psilocybin therapy implies that highly suggestible individuals may be primed for response to this treatment.

  • Journal article
    Weiss B, Ginige I, Shannon L, Giribaldi B, Murphy-Beiner A, Murphy R, Baker-Jones M, Martell J, Nutt DJ, Carhart-Harris RL, Erritzoe Det al., 2024,

    Personality change in a trial of psilocybin therapy vs escitalopram treatment for depression

    , Psychological Medicine, Vol: 54, Pages: 178-192, ISSN: 0033-2917

    Background:Psilocybin Therapy (PT) is being increasingly studied as a psychiatric intervention. Personality relates to mental health and can be used to probe the nature of PT's therapeutic action.Methods:In a phase 2, double-blind, randomized, active comparator controlled trial involving patients with moderate-to-severe major depressive disorder, we compared psilocybin with escitalopram, over a core 6-week trial period. Five-Factor model personality domains, Big Five Aspect Scale Openness aspects, Absorption, and Impulsivity were measured at Baseline, Week 6, and Month 6 follow-up.Results:PT was associated with decreases in neuroticism (B = −0.63), introversion (B = −0.38), disagreeableness (B = −0.47), impulsivity (B = −0.40), and increases in absorption (B = 0.32), conscientiousness (B = 0.30), and openness (B = 0.23) at week 6, with neuroticism (B = −0.47) and disagreeableness (B = −0.41) remaining decreased at month 6. Escitalopram Treatment (ET) was associated with decreases in neuroticism (B = −0.38), disagreeableness (B = −0.26), impulsivity (B = −0.35), and increases in openness (B = 0.28) at week 6, with neuroticism (B = −0.46) remaining decreased at month 6. No significant between-condition differences were observed.Conclusions:Personality changes across both conditions were in a direction consistent with improved mental health. With the possible exception of trait absorption, there were no compelling between-condition differences warranting conclusions regarding a selective action of PT (v. ET) on personality; however, post-ET changes in personality were significantly moderated by pre-trial positive expectancy for escitalopram, whereas expectancy did not moderate response to PT.

  • Journal article
    Weiss B, Ginige I, Shannon L, Giribaldi B, Murphy-Beiner A, Murphy R, Baker-Jones M, Martell J, Nutt DJ, Carhart-Harris RL, Erritzoe Det al., 2024,

    Personality Change in a Trial of Psilocybin Therapy vs Escitalopram Treatment for Depression - CORRIGENDUM.

    , Psychol Med, Vol: 54

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