A newly done study by a group of researchers from Yale University has established that a single dose of psilocybin improves the neural connections lost during chronic stress and depression.
The researchers administered a single dose of psilocybin to mice and used a laser-scanning microscope to capture the dendritic spines in the brain of the mice in high resolution.
Within 24 hours after administering the dose, the researchers observed an immediate and lasting increase in the number and size of dendritic spines. These changes were still present even after one month after administration of the single psilocybin dose.
“We not only saw a 10% increase in the number of neuronal connections, but also they were on average about 10% larger, so the connections were stronger as well,” said Professor Alex Kwan, the lead author of the research.
Stress and depression are known to degrade and reduce the number of neural connection of the affected subject. The mice used in the study, which were first subjected to stress showed behavioral improvements and increased neurotransmitter activity.
This study comes with increased hope of treating depression as a number of clinical trials have been conducted in recent years on the same. Professor Kwan it could be psychological experience itself that prompts the psychological changes.
“It was a real surprise to see such enduring changes from just one dose of psilocybin. These new connections may be the structural changes the brain uses to store new experiences,” added Kwan.