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Psychedelics Treatment Shows Positive Outcomes in Treating Mental Illness

One in five U.S. adults will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. The standard treatments can be slow to work and cause side effects. The study was conducted by a group of researchers from Virginia to study the effect of Psychedelics substance.

The Virginia Tech researcher has joined a renaissance of research on a long-banned class of drugs that could combat several forms of mental illness and, in mice, have achieved long-lasting results from just one dose. Using a process his lab developed in 2015, Chang Lu, the Fred W. Bull Professor of Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering, is helping his Virginia Commonwealth University collaborators study the epigenomic effects of Psychedelics.

Psychedelics Treatment Shows Positive Outcomes in Treating Mental IllnessTheir findings give insight into how Psychedelics substances like psilocybin, mescaline, LSD, and similar drugs may relieve symptoms of addiction, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The drugs appear to work faster and last longer than current medications all with fewer side effects.The project hinged on Lu’s genomic analysis. His process allows researchers to use very small samples of tissue, down to hundreds to thousands of cells, and draw meaningful conclusions from them. Older processes require much larger sample sizes, so Lu’s approach enables the studies using just a small quantity of material from a specific region of a mouse brain.

The author of the study said that researchers can do human clinical trials with the substances, taking blood and urine samples and observing behavior. The behavioral data will tell you the result, but it doesn’t tell you why it works in a certain way. The molecular changes in animal models, such as the brains of mice, allows scientists to peer into what Lu calls the black box of neuroscience to understand the biological processes at work.

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