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Hearing and Donuts (Brain and Bagels) Seminar
February 21 @ 8:30 am - 9:30 am
Presenter: Matt Banks, Professor, Anesthesiology, UW Madison
Topic: Linking the anti-depressant activity of psilocybin to synaptic plasticity and the psychedelic experience.
Psilocybin and other psychedelic compounds that are agonists at the serotonin 2A receptor have therapeutic potential for treating patients with major depressive disorder. In preliminary studies, patients who experience mystical or insight-type phenomena during treatment with psilocybin show the greatest long-term benefits, suggesting that the psychedelic experience may relate causally to psilocybin’s therapeutic benefits. Serotonin 2A receptor agonists also promote synaptic plasticity in brain regions critical for manifestation of depressive symptoms, such as medial prefrontal cortex. However, our understanding of the functional roles of synaptic plasticity and the psychedelic experience in ameliorating depression is in its infancy. We are designing parallel studies in human subjects and in mouse models to explore these roles.