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OfflinemotamanM
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Professor explores the mysterious connection between the drug and your brain's function
    #5877757 - 07/19/06 03:18 PM (15 years, 4 months ago)

http://www.purdueexponent.com/index.php/module/Issue/action/Article/article_id/4253

Professor explores the mysterious connection between the drug and your brain's function
By Lauren Harrington
Summer Reporter

Studies indicate that LSD may help treat alcoholism or improve the quality of life for terminal cancer patients, but historical taboos have hindered the psychedelic's benefits.

David Nichols, professor of medical chemistry and molecular pharmacy, said previous research by another institution explored the administration of LSD to endstage cancer patients. Anxiety and physical pain were alleviated for a majority of the patients, and Nichols traced the relief back to a loss of the fear of death.

"The interesting thing about psychedelics is that they profoundly change the way one views the world," he said. "What part of the brain is so important that it can change the way we perceive reality? That's what keeps me interested."

Nichols has been studying psychedelics' effects on brain chemistry since graduate school in 1969, and explained that LSD serves as a molecular tool to help understand brain functions, which could decipher how emotions are created or find a cure for depression.

"Science is very reductionist. We could say that any feeling is a neurological change," he said.

Nichols' research, a combination of chemistry, pharmacology and neuroscience, is performed by studying a range of subjects such as cloned brain receptors, rats' behavior, molecular synthesis and computer models. Some of his findings were published in 2004, and included information such as how LSD works in the brain.

According to Nichols, brain receptors detect novelty and make people take notice of things, such as when a glass breaks in a quiet room. When a person takes LSD, the same receptors may fire and cause an everyday object to seem interesting.

"It creates novelty where novelty doesn't exist," Nichols said.

In addition to his work with LSD, Nichols performed the earliest work on what effects Ecstasy has on the brain, as well as research to activate receptors in schizophrenics' brains to help improve their memory and cognitive skills. Although the study is in early clinical trials, the results may help those suffering from schizophrenia to function successfully in the workplace or prompt a better treatment for Parkinson's Disease.

The stigmas surrounding the use of psychedelics, however, has prohibited many hypotheses from developing.

"The industry isn't interested," Nichols said. "No one has really cared much about these."

LSD, discovered in 1943, was hailed as a vehicle to understand emotional disorders because of its similarity to the chemical serotonin in the brain. After the �60s, though, the taboo of LSD's counterculture reputation extinguished serious studies.

Nichols said, "Imagine if someone discovered the transistor and then abandoned it."

Although Nichols said he has a lack of colleagues, recent findings at Johns Hopkins' University, which showed test subjects believed a controlled experience with LSD to be life-changing and spiritual, may help revive and ignite interest in the field.

"What this study will do ... is help this field back up and help it be explored the way it should be."

Nichols, who has a license to test substances deemed to be illegal drugs by the government such as LSD, does not advocate the recreational use of psychedelics.

"I think we should understand what purpose and use they have," he said. "I think they have medical uses, they just haven't been studied."


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Offlineqwertymkonji
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Re: Professor explores the mysterious connection between the drug and your brain's function [Re: motaman]
    #5878149 - 07/19/06 05:02 PM (15 years, 4 months ago)

This guy must have never taken lsd. The novelty of an object is in that it moves. The whole world flows.


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OfflineDadeMurphy
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Re: Professor explores the mysterious connection between the drug and your brain's function [Re: qwertymkonji]
    #5880042 - 07/20/06 03:01 AM (15 years, 4 months ago)

I'd bet Nichols has taken LSD...he's worked closely with Shulgin, and most of his work seems to be on psychedelics. Anyone who is involved in this field of study and lived through the 60s probably dropped acid.

And your definition of novelty is pretty damn narrow...any property of anything can be experienced as novel if you aren't expecting it.


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OfflineBooby
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Re: Professor explores the mysterious connection between the drug and your brain's function [Re: DadeMurphy]
    #5880341 - 07/20/06 06:24 AM (15 years, 4 months ago)

'Familiarity breeds contempt' as the saying goes; so contempt diminishes while Under the Influence ?


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Let it not be remembered
That mycelium eats detritus and dies
But that life in all it's glory
Counts mycelium to be on it's side.


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OfflineOjom
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Re: Professor explores the mysterious connection between the drug and your brain's function [Re: Booby]
    #5883641 - 07/21/06 06:21 AM (15 years, 4 months ago)

I think the novelty can be traced back to LSD changing the way our brains process long term memories. I have vividly relived events from my past on LSD.


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Invisiblekake
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Re: Professor explores the mysterious connection between the drug and your brain's function [Re: Ojom]
    #5896389 - 07/25/06 01:28 AM (15 years, 4 months ago)

This kind of news is always great IMO. Its important that respectable figures in education are speaking positively about LSD. Obviously its okay for him to say he doesn't condone recreational use, he is in a position where it would probably hurt his credibility if he didn't. But come to think of it, I'm sure there are plenty of people who are educated who wouldn't condone swimming in the ocean, either, but the fact of the matter is, when people can they will and last I knew there was no way to stop LSD from being made entirely so might as well stop wasting money on propaganda and prosecutions and jailtime and start using it to benefit the world.


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The answer to 1984 is 1776.


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