Mushrooms Work Magic on Hard-To-Treat Depression, Study Finds

After one week, a whopping 100 percent of the participants were free of depression.

Your hippie friends might have been right after all. A new study published in Lancelot Psychology Journal has found promising evidence that suggests magic mushrooms can relieve depression in patients who have not otherwise responded to conventional treatments.

Scientists at Imperial College London administered high doses of psilocybin, the main compound in magic mushrooms, to 12 volunteers with treatment-resistant depression. After one week, a whopping 100 percent of the participants were free of depression and five individuals remained symptom-free after three months. The researchers have called the results “promising, but not completely compelling,” due to the inherent limitations of the study. For the study to be considered truly rigorous, the researchers would have needed to use a placebo group to rule out other factors possibly contributing to the results. Yet, the use of a placebo group was not a possibility due to the fact that it would have been rather obvious as to which group ingested the hallucinogenic substance.

While more research is needed, the scientists believe that psilocybin targets receptors in the brain that disrupt the Default Mode Network, an area that is responsible for sense of self and is overactive in depressed people. However, scientists are unable to rule out other possible theories, including the possibility that the hallucinogenic drug induced some sort of awakening or spiritual experience in the participants. According to the National Institute of Health, depression is one of the most common mental disorders and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. An estimated 6.7% of all adults in the United States had one major depressive episode in the past year and approximately 121 million people worldwide experience depression. Of these people, around 10-30% either do not respond to current treatments or show a minimal response in symptom reduction but still continue to experience major functional impairments.

While the results of this new study are definitely promising, the researchers caution against people trying this unconventional treatment at home. “Psychedelic drugs have potent psychological effects and are only given in our research when appropriate safeguards are in place, such as careful screening and professional therapeutic support,” lead author Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris said. “I wouldn’t want members of the public thinking they can treat their own depressions by picking their own magic mushrooms. That kind of approach could be risky.”

via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

Keep Reading Show less

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

Keep Reading Show less