neurosciencestuff:

New study discovers biological basis for magic mushroom ‘mind expansion’
Psychedelic drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms can profoundly alter the way we experience the world but little is known about what physically happens in the brain. New research, published in Human Brain Mapping, has examined the brain effects of the psychedelic chemical in magic mushrooms, called psilocybin, using data from brain scans of volunteers who had been injected with the drug.
The study found that under psilocybin, activity in the more primitive brain network linked to emotional thinking became more pronounced, with several different areas in this network - such as the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex - active at the same time. This pattern of activity is similar to the pattern observed in people who are dreaming. Conversely, volunteers who had taken psilocybin had more disjointed and uncoordinated activity in the brain network that is linked to high-level thinking, including self-consciousness.
Psychedelic drugs are unique among other psychoactive chemicals in that users often describe ‘expanded consciousness,’ including enhanced associations, vivid imagination and dream-like states. To explore the biological basis for this experience, researchers analysed brain imaging data from 15 volunteers who were given psilocybin intravenously while they lay in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. Volunteers were scanned under the influence of psilocybin and when they had been injected with a placebo.
“What we have done in this research is begin to identify the biological basis of the reported mind expansion associated with psychedelic drugs,” said Dr Robin Carhart-Harris from the Department of Medicine, Imperial College London.  “I was fascinated to see similarities between the pattern of brain activity in a psychedelic state and the pattern of brain activity during dream sleep, especially as both involve the primitive areas of the brain linked to emotions and memory. People often describe taking psilocybin as producing a dream-like state and our findings have, for the first time, provided a physical representation for the experience in the brain.”    
The new study examined variation in the amplitude of fluctuations in what is called the blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal, which tracks activity levels in the brain. This revealed that activity in important brain networks linked to high-level thinking in humans becomes unsynchronised and disorganised under psilocybin. One particular network that was especially affected plays a central role in the brain, essentially ‘holding it all together’, and is linked to our sense of self.
In comparison, activity in the different areas of a more primitive brain network became more synchronised under the drug, indicating they were working in a more co-ordinated, ‘louder’ fashion. The network involves areas of the hippocampus, associated with memory and emotion, and the anterior cingulate cortex which is related to states of arousal.
Lead author Dr Enzo Tagliazucchi from Goethe University, Germany said: “A good way to understand how the brain works is to perturb the system in a marked and novel way. Psychedelic drugs do precisely this and so are powerful tools for exploring what happens in the brain when consciousness is profoundly altered. It is the first time we have used these methods to look at brain imaging data and it has given some fascinating insight into how psychedelic drugs expand the mind. It really provides a window through which to study the doors of perception.”
Dr. Carhart-Harris added: “Learning about the mechanisms that underlie what happens under the influence of psychedelic drugs can also help to understand their possible uses. We are currently studying the effect of LSD on creative thinking and we will also be looking at the possibility that psilocybin may help alleviate symptoms of depression by allowing patients to change their rigidly pessimistic patterns of thinking. Psychedelics were used for therapeutic purposes in the 1950s and 1960s but now we are finally beginning to understand their action in the brain and how this can inform how to put them to good use.”
The data was originally collected at Imperial College London in 2012 by a research group led by Dr Carhart-Harris and Professor David Nutt from the Department of Medicine, Imperial College London. Initial results revealed a variety of changes in the brain associated with drug intake. To explore the data further Dr. Carhart-Harris recruited specialists in the mathematical modelling of brain networks, Professor Dante Chialvo and Dr Enzo Tagliazucchi to investigate how psilocybin alters brain activity to produce its unusual psychological effects.
As part of the new study, the researchers applied a measure called entropy. This was originally developed by physicists to quantify lost energy in mechanical systems, such as a steam engine, but entropy can also be used to measure the range or randomness of a system. For the first time, researchers computed the level of entropy for different networks in the brain during the psychedelic state. This revealed a remarkable increase in entropy in the more primitive network, indicating there was an increased number of patterns of activity that were possible under the influence of psilocybin. It seemed the volunteers had a much larger range of potential brain states that were available to them, which may be the biophysical counterpart of ‘mind expansion’ reported by users of psychedelic drugs.
Previous research has suggested that there may be an optimal number of dynamic networks active in the brain, neither too many nor too few. This may provide evolutionary advantages in terms of optimising the balance between the stability and flexibility of consciousness. The mind works best at a critical point when there is a balance between order and disorder and the brain maintains this optimal number of networks. However, when the number goes above this point, the mind tips into a more chaotic regime where there are more networks available than normal. Collectively, the present results suggest that psilocybin can manipulate this critical operating point.

neurosciencestuff:

New study discovers biological basis for magic mushroom ‘mind expansion’

Psychedelic drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms can profoundly alter the way we experience the world but little is known about what physically happens in the brain. New research, published in Human Brain Mapping, has examined the brain effects of the psychedelic chemical in magic mushrooms, called psilocybin, using data from brain scans of volunteers who had been injected with the drug.

The study found that under psilocybin, activity in the more primitive brain network linked to emotional thinking became more pronounced, with several different areas in this network - such as the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex - active at the same time. This pattern of activity is similar to the pattern observed in people who are dreaming. Conversely, volunteers who had taken psilocybin had more disjointed and uncoordinated activity in the brain network that is linked to high-level thinking, including self-consciousness.

Psychedelic drugs are unique among other psychoactive chemicals in that users often describe ‘expanded consciousness,’ including enhanced associations, vivid imagination and dream-like states. To explore the biological basis for this experience, researchers analysed brain imaging data from 15 volunteers who were given psilocybin intravenously while they lay in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. Volunteers were scanned under the influence of psilocybin and when they had been injected with a placebo.

“What we have done in this research is begin to identify the biological basis of the reported mind expansion associated with psychedelic drugs,” said Dr Robin Carhart-Harris from the Department of Medicine, Imperial College London.  “I was fascinated to see similarities between the pattern of brain activity in a psychedelic state and the pattern of brain activity during dream sleep, especially as both involve the primitive areas of the brain linked to emotions and memory. People often describe taking psilocybin as producing a dream-like state and our findings have, for the first time, provided a physical representation for the experience in the brain.”    

The new study examined variation in the amplitude of fluctuations in what is called the blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal, which tracks activity levels in the brain. This revealed that activity in important brain networks linked to high-level thinking in humans becomes unsynchronised and disorganised under psilocybin. One particular network that was especially affected plays a central role in the brain, essentially ‘holding it all together’, and is linked to our sense of self.

In comparison, activity in the different areas of a more primitive brain network became more synchronised under the drug, indicating they were working in a more co-ordinated, ‘louder’ fashion. The network involves areas of the hippocampus, associated with memory and emotion, and the anterior cingulate cortex which is related to states of arousal.

Lead author Dr Enzo Tagliazucchi from Goethe University, Germany said: “A good way to understand how the brain works is to perturb the system in a marked and novel way. Psychedelic drugs do precisely this and so are powerful tools for exploring what happens in the brain when consciousness is profoundly altered. It is the first time we have used these methods to look at brain imaging data and it has given some fascinating insight into how psychedelic drugs expand the mind. It really provides a window through which to study the doors of perception.”

Dr. Carhart-Harris added: “Learning about the mechanisms that underlie what happens under the influence of psychedelic drugs can also help to understand their possible uses. We are currently studying the effect of LSD on creative thinking and we will also be looking at the possibility that psilocybin may help alleviate symptoms of depression by allowing patients to change their rigidly pessimistic patterns of thinking. Psychedelics were used for therapeutic purposes in the 1950s and 1960s but now we are finally beginning to understand their action in the brain and how this can inform how to put them to good use.”

The data was originally collected at Imperial College London in 2012 by a research group led by Dr Carhart-Harris and Professor David Nutt from the Department of Medicine, Imperial College London. Initial results revealed a variety of changes in the brain associated with drug intake. To explore the data further Dr. Carhart-Harris recruited specialists in the mathematical modelling of brain networks, Professor Dante Chialvo and Dr Enzo Tagliazucchi to investigate how psilocybin alters brain activity to produce its unusual psychological effects.

As part of the new study, the researchers applied a measure called entropy. This was originally developed by physicists to quantify lost energy in mechanical systems, such as a steam engine, but entropy can also be used to measure the range or randomness of a system. For the first time, researchers computed the level of entropy for different networks in the brain during the psychedelic state. This revealed a remarkable increase in entropy in the more primitive network, indicating there was an increased number of patterns of activity that were possible under the influence of psilocybin. It seemed the volunteers had a much larger range of potential brain states that were available to them, which may be the biophysical counterpart of ‘mind expansion’ reported by users of psychedelic drugs.

Previous research has suggested that there may be an optimal number of dynamic networks active in the brain, neither too many nor too few. This may provide evolutionary advantages in terms of optimising the balance between the stability and flexibility of consciousness. The mind works best at a critical point when there is a balance between order and disorder and the brain maintains this optimal number of networks. However, when the number goes above this point, the mind tips into a more chaotic regime where there are more networks available than normal. Collectively, the present results suggest that psilocybin can manipulate this critical operating point.

(via neuroticthought)

— 2 weeks ago with 1512 notes
collartge:

"The Illuminati’s Journey" 
Paper Collage by Dilcia Giron 
collartge.tumblr.com 

Feeling inspired by collages today;

collartge:

"The Illuminati’s Journey" 

Paper Collage by Dilcia Giron 

collartge.tumblr.com 

Feeling inspired by collages today;

— 2 weeks ago with 574 notes

iriskaruna:

Today at Artscape Youngplace: a few more collage sketches for my Gestures series!

Really into these! iriskaruna

— 2 weeks ago with 6 notes
This is me, photo courtesy of henryswasey 2014

This is me, photo courtesy of henryswasey 2014

(Source: henryswasey)

— 1 month ago with 3 notes
lareviewofbooks:








“If I could give you one thought, it would be to lift someone up. Lift a stranger up - lift her up. I would ask you, mother and father, brother and sister, lovers, mother and daughter, father and son, lift someone. The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well.” 

 - Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014)

lareviewofbooks:

“If I could give you one thought, it would be to lift someone up. Lift a stranger up - lift her up. I would ask you, mother and father, brother and sister, lovers, mother and daughter, father and son, lift someone. The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well.” 

 - Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014)

— 1 month ago with 217 notes

rhamphotheca:

One of the Biggest Arctic Migrations You’ve Never Heard Of

by Carmen Yeung

The Bering Strait—located between Alaska’s Seward Peninsula and Russia’s Chukotka Peninsula—is the only marine gateway connecting the Arctic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. At its narrowest point, the strait is just 55 miles wide. Big Diomede Island (Russia) and Little Diomede Island (U.S.) are located near the middle of the Bering Strait, and are separated by a strip of water less than three miles wide.

Despite its cold, remote location, the Bering Strait is a key biological hotspot, a region that contains a significant number of species – some of which are found nowhere else on Earth. This strait is both a bottleneck and a pathway for marine life.

Each spring, millions of seabirds and hundreds of thousands of marine mammals traverse the narrow strait as they migrate to the Arctic Ocean. Sea ice—frozen seawater that floats on the ocean surface—plays a major role in this seasonal migration.

In the spring, migratory birds and marine mammals gather in the Bering Sea and follow the retreating ice edge north through the Bering Strait and into the Chukchi Sea and the Arctic Ocean. The ice edge is highly productive, and the sea ice itself provides important habitat for microorganisms, birds and marine mammals. The Bering and Chukchi Seas are one of the most productive ocean ecosystems in the world…

(read more: Ocean Conservancy)

photos: Ribbon Seal - NOAA Fisheries; Satelite Images - NASA; and Northern Bowhead Whales - NOAA Marine Mammal Laboratory

(via laboratoryequipment)

— 2 months ago with 1141 notes
thenewenlightenmentage:

Checking the Claim: A Device That Translates Dolphin Sounds Into English
Researchers used new technology to interpret a dolphin noise they say translates loosely to “seaweed”
It isn’t too much of a stretch to think that dolphins, given their playful nature and charm, converse with each other much like we do. But is this really the case? And if so, to what extent do their seemingly random calls indicate a natural penchant for language?
Dolphin researcher Denise Herzing has spent nearly three decades listening in on suchnoises in hopes of deciphering what she suspects is actual dolphin chatter. But it wasn’t until she tried to teach the dolphins calls for specific English words—and they responded—that she realized she may have hit on something big.
Continue Reading

thenewenlightenmentage:

Checking the Claim: A Device That Translates Dolphin Sounds Into English

Researchers used new technology to interpret a dolphin noise they say translates loosely to “seaweed”

It isn’t too much of a stretch to think that dolphins, given their playful nature and charm, converse with each other much like we do. But is this really the case? And if so, to what extent do their seemingly random calls indicate a natural penchant for language?

Dolphin researcher Denise Herzing has spent nearly three decades listening in on suchnoises in hopes of deciphering what she suspects is actual dolphin chatter. But it wasn’t until she tried to teach the dolphins calls for specific English words—and they responded—that she realized she may have hit on something big.

Continue Reading

— 3 months ago with 125 notes
fyeahwomenartists:

Alexis Hunter, artist, born 4 November 1948; died 24 February 2014
"I think feminism is too radical, even for liberalism."
I had the pleasure of meeting Alexis on a couple of occasions and always found her integrity and wit striking. A true feminist pioneer, her work, especially from the 1970s, seems radical even now, more than three decades on. The art world has lost a true icon. Heartbreakingly, not even a month after Alexis’ passing, her husband, Baxter, died of a broken heart.
This fitting obituary was written by my own professor, Lynda Morris, who curated Alexis’ 2006 acclaimed solo show, with accompanying book: 'Alexis Hunter: Radical Feminism in the 1970s'. (Well worth a read if you ever have the opportunity… it is still available to purchase!)
Image: Detail from Alexis Hunter’s Approach to Fear XIII: Pain – Destruction of Cause, 1977. 
Alison Humphrey

fyeahwomenartists:

Alexis Hunter, artist, born 4 November 1948; died 24 February 2014

"I think feminism is too radical, even for liberalism."

I had the pleasure of meeting Alexis on a couple of occasions and always found her integrity and wit striking. A true feminist pioneer, her work, especially from the 1970s, seems radical even now, more than three decades on. The art world has lost a true icon. Heartbreakingly, not even a month after Alexis’ passing, her husband, Baxter, died of a broken heart.

This fitting obituary was written by my own professor, Lynda Morris, who curated Alexis’ 2006 acclaimed solo show, with accompanying book: 'Alexis Hunter: Radical Feminism in the 1970s'. (Well worth a read if you ever have the opportunity… it is still available to purchase!)

Image: Detail from Alexis Hunter’s Approach to Fear XIII: Pain – Destruction of Cause, 1977. 

Alison Humphrey

— 3 months ago with 142 notes

discoverynews:

First Asteroid Discovered Sporting a Ring System

When you think of a celestial ring system, the beautiful ringed planet Saturn will likely jump to mind. But for the first time astronomers have discovered that ring systems aren’t exclusive to planetary bodies — asteroids can have them too. Read more

It’s a big breaking news day for space!

— 4 months ago with 1136 notes
Researchers Identify Gene That Helps Fruit Flies Go to Sleep →

neurosciencestuff:

A novel protein may explain how biological clocks regulate human sleep cycles

image

In a series of experiments sparked by fruit flies that couldn’t sleep, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have identified a mutant gene — dubbed “Wide Awake” — that sabotages how the biological clock sets the…

(Source: hopkinsmedicine.org)

— 4 months ago with 118 notes
"Gluten Sensitivity" May Be a Misnomer for Distinct Illnesses to Various Wheat Proteins →

As doctors continue to tease apart the diverse ways that the human body reacts to all the proteins and other molecules besides gluten that are found in grains, they will be able to develop more accurate tests for various sensitivities to those compounds. Ultimately clinicians hope such tests will help people who have a genuine medical condition to avoid the specific constituents of grains that make them ill and will stop others from unnecessarily cutting out nutrient-dense whole grains.”

(Source: rhamphotheca)

— 5 months ago with 31 notes