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    ayahuasca corpus callosum brain ICEERS study

    Links Between Ayahuasca Use and the Corpus Callosum

    28.10.2022

    Preliminary evidence of links between ayahuasca use and the corpus callosum

    Authors:

    Otto Simonsson, José Carlos Bouso, Florian Kurth, Dráulio B. Araújo, Christian Gaser, Jordi Riba, and Eileen Luders.

    Journal:
    Frontiers in Psychiatry

    Year:
    2022

     

    About the study

    This study was designed to shed further light on the potential effects of ayahuasca use on the corpus callosum. The authors compared the midsagittal thickness of the corpus callosum between ayahuasca users and their matched controls at 100 equidistant points.

    The study included 22 ayahuasca users from the Santo Daime church in Spain and 22 matched controls. The results detected significant group differences within the isthmus, where the corpus callosum was thicker in the ayahuasca group than in the control group.
     
    In terms of associations between long-term use of ayahuasca and the anatomy of the corpus callosum, the study showed that the isthmus was thicker in the ayahuasca group than in the control group, but there was also a positive correlation between callosal thickness and the number of past ayahuasca sessions within the rostral body.

     

    Abstract

    Background: Recent research suggests that ayahuasca and its alkaloid-containing ingredients may be helpful in the treatment and prevention of certain movement and neurodegenerative disorders. However, such research is still in its infancy and more studies in normative samples seem necessary to explore effects of ayahuasca on clinically relevant brain structures, such as the corpus callosum.

    Aims: The purpose of the present study was to investigate links between ayahuasca use and callosal structure in a normative sample.

    Methods: Using structural imaging data from 22 ayahuasca users and 22 matched controls we compared the thickness of the corpus callosum between both groups at 100 equidistant points across the entire midsagittal surface. In addition, we investigated point-wise correlations between callosal thickness and the number of past ayahuasca sessions.

    Results: The corpus callosum was significantly thicker within the isthmus in the ayahuasca group than in the control group. There was also a significant positive correlation between callosal thickness and the number of past ayahuasca sessions within the rostral body, albeit none of these effects survived corrections for multiple comparisons. No region was significantly thicker in the control than in the ayahuasca group, and no callosal region was negatively linked to ayahuasca use, even at uncorrected significance thresholds.

    Conclusion: This study provides preliminary evidence of links between ayahuasca use and the corpus callosum. However, future studies need to replicate these findings, preferably using larger sample sizes and ideally also utilizing longitudinal research designs, to draw any practical conclusion and offer implications for follow-up clinical research.

     

    Link to the study

     

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    Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash.

     

     

    Categories: Ayahuasca , Studies & papers
    Tags: scientific research , study , psychedelics , hallucinogens , brain , ayahuasca