Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In a breakthrough, scientists have found a new compound that could help those struggling with depression that affects millions of people worldwide.
According to a new study, psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in ‘magic’ mushrooms, has successfully cleared symptoms of severe depression in patients that have seen no benefit from other, standard forms of treatment.
Psilocybin is a psychedelic drug that promotes hallucinations and reduces inhibitions.
The study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, involved 12 patients with untreatable depression. Researchers gave them two doses of psilocybin and found that after a week all reported improvement with two-thirds of the patients no longer depressed.
The study conducted by the scientists at Imperial College London found that three months later, five patients had no symptoms of the condition.
In the study, initially researchers gave patients a low dose of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic chemical in magic mushrooms, to test for safety.
Later, they were administered a very high dose equivalent to "a lot of mushrooms".
Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, one of the researchers, said: "These experiences with psilocybin can be incredibly profound, sometimes people have what they describe as mystical or spiritual-type experiences."
The findings have been cautiously welcomed by experts as "promising, but not completely compelling".
Researchers now look for further trials, with more rigorous designs, to better examine the therapeutic potential of this approach,” the authors conclude.
With an estimated 350 million people worldwide being affected by the condition, the findings could help revolutionise in treating depression.