Fernanda Palhano-Fontes

Fernanda Palhano-Fontes
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte | IIP · Brain Institute

PhD

About

46
Publications
31,868
Reads
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1,308
Citations
Introduction
Currently, I'm a research engineer at the Brain Institute, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Brazil. My main areas of interest are psychedelics, psychiatry, and imaging techniques such as fMRI and electroencephalography.

Publications

Publications (46)
Preprint
Full-text available
The physical basis of consciousness is one of the most intriguing open questions that contemporary science aims to solve. By approaching the brain as an interactive information system, complex network theory has greatly contributed to understand brain process in different states of mind. We study an non-ordinary state of mind by comparing resting-s...
Article
Full-text available
RationaleStream of thought describes the nature of the mind when it is freely roaming, a mental state that is continuous and highly dynamic as in mind-wandering or free association. Classic serotonergic psychedelics are known to profoundly impact perception, cognition and language, yet their influence on the stream of thought remains largely unexpl...
Article
The therapeutic use of classical psychedelic substances such as d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) surged in recent years. Studies in rodents suggest that these effects are produced by increased neural plasticity, including stimulation of the mTOR pathway, a key regulator of metabolism, plasticity, and aging. Could psychedelic-induced neural plasti...
Article
Psychedelics acutely impair cognitive functions, but these impairments decline with growing experiences with psychedelics and microdoses may even exert opposing effects. Given the recent evidence that psychedelics induce neuroplasticity, this explorative study aimed at investigating the potential of psychedelics to sub-acutely change cognition. For...
Article
Background: Controversy surrounds psychedelics and their potential to boost creativity. To date, psychedelic studies lack a uniform conceptualization of creativity and methodologically rigorous designs. Aims: This study aimed at addressing previous issues by examining the effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) on creativity using multimodal...
Chapter
Ayahuasca, the vine of the souls in Quechua, is a psychedelic brew with a few formulations that most often include the bark of a liana in the Malpighiaceae family (Banisteriopsis caapi), with leaves from a shrub in the coffee family Rubiaceae (Psychotria viridis). Mixed with water and boiled for hours or days, it produces a brownish-colored liquid...
Article
Full-text available
Background Molecular biomarkers are promising tools to be routinely used in clinical psychiatry. Among psychiatric diseases, major depression disorder (MDD) has gotten attention due to its growing prevalence and morbidity. Methods We tested some peripheral molecular parameters such as serum mature Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (mBDNF), plasma...
Article
Full-text available
The comprehension of the pathophysiology of the major depressive disorder (MDD) is essential to the strengthening of precision psychiatry. In order to determine the relationship between the pathophysiology of the MDD and its clinical progression, analyzed by severity of the depressive symptoms and sleep quality, we conducted a study assessing diffe...
Article
Background For a century, psychedelics have been investigated as models of psychosis for demonstrating phenomenological similarities with psychotic experiences and as therapeutic models for treating depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. This study sought to explore this paradoxical relationship connecting key parameters of the psychotic...
Preprint
Full-text available
We address the general problem of how to estimate an entropy given a Pearson correlation matrix. Most methods currently in use inject a degree of arbitrariness due to the thresholding of correlations. Here we propose an entirely objective method of entropy estimation that requires no thresholding. Let $\boldsymbol{R}$ be an $N\times N$ Pearson corr...
Chapter
Depression is a mood disorder with profound negative effects on the individual’s quality of life and augmented suicidal risks. Despite substantial progress in the development of new antidepressants that have been made in the last decades, remission rates are modest, around 50% after the first treatment. Besides, antidepressants usually take about 2...
Article
Full-text available
O objetivo principal da mecânica estatística é relacionar a física microscópica regida pelas leis de Newton, ou então pela mecânica quântica, com a física macroscópica regida pelas leis da termodinâmica. Conceitos macroscópicos, tais como a temperatura, que não fazem sentido do ponto de vista microscópico, surgem na mecânica estatística como propri...
Article
Background Ayahuasca is a traditional Amazon brew and its potential antidepressant properties have recently been explored in scientific settings. We conducted a double-blind placebo-controlled trial of ayahuasca with treatment-resistant depression patients ( n = 28) and healthy controls ( n = 45). Aims We are evaluating the blood inflammatory biom...
Article
Full-text available
Pranayama refers to a set of yoga breathing exercises. Recent evidence suggests that the practice of pranayama has positive effects on measures of clinical stress and anxiety. This study explored the impact of a Bhastrika pranayama training program on emotion processing, anxiety, and affect. We used a randomized controlled trial design with thirty...
Article
Background Neuroimaging studies have just begun to explore the acute effects of psychedelics on large-scale brain networks’ functional organization. Even less is known about the neural correlates of subacute effects taking place days after the psychedelic experience. This study explores the subacute changes of primary sensory brain networks and net...
Article
Full-text available
Sleep disturbance is a symptom consistently found in major depression and is associated with a longer course of illness, reduced response to treatment, increased risk of relapse and recurrence. Chronic insomnia has been associated with changes in cortisol and serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, which in turn are also changed in m...
Article
Full-text available
Suicide is a major public health problem. Given increasing suicide rates and limitations surrounding current interventions, there is an urgent need for innovative interventions for suicidality. Although ayahuasca has been shown to target mental health concerns associated with suicidality (i.e., depression and hopelessness), research has not yet exp...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Neuroimaging studies have just begun to explore the acute effects of psychedelics on large-scale brain networks’ functional organization. Even less is known on the neural correlates of subacute effects taking place days after the psychedelic experience. This study explores the subacute changes of primary sensory brain networks and networ...
Article
Full-text available
Serotonergic psychedelics are emerging as potential antidepressant therapeutic tools, as suggested in a recent randomized controlled trial with ayahuasca for treatment-resistant depression. Preclinical and clinical studies have suggested that serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels increase after treatment with serotoninergic antidepr...
Conference Paper
Inhibitory cognitive control in children has been associated with future educational attainment, healthy body composition and eating behavior. Regular practice of aerobic exercise has shown to improve inhibitory cognitive control in children, however the brain areas involved in this cognitive domain, in particular those related to the inhibition of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Open problems abound in the theory of complex networks, which has found successful application to diverse fields of science. With the aim of further advancing the understanding of the brain's functional connectivity, we propose to evaluate a network metric which we term the geodesic entropy. This entropy, in a way that can be made precise, quantifi...
Article
Full-text available
Hearing aids (HAs) are an effective strategy for auditory rehabilitation in patients with peripheral hearing deficits. Yet, the neurophysiological mechanisms behind HA use are still unclear. Thus far, most studies have focused on changes in the auditory system, although it is expected that hearing deficits affect a number of cognitive systems, nota...
Data
Supplementary Figure 1: pure tone audiometry for each frequency tested with headphones in the control group. Supplementary Figure 2: pure tone audiometry for each frequency tested with headphones for the group of patients before (PB) and after (PA) HA use. Supplementary Figure 3: pure tone audiometry for each frequency tested in free field, for pat...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Recent open-label trials show that psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, hold promise as fast-onset antidepressants in treatment-resistant depression. Methods: To test the antidepressant effects of ayahuasca, we conducted a parallel-arm, double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial in 29 patients with treatment-resistant depression. P...
Article
Full-text available
Major depression is a highly prevalent mood disorder, affecting about 350 million people, and around 30% of the patients are resistant to currently available antidepressant medications. Recent evidence from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) supports the rapid antidepressant effects of the psychedelic ayahuasca in treatment-resistant depression. T...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Mirror therapy (MT) is becoming an alternative rehabilitation strategy for various conditions, including stroke. Although recent studies suggest the positive benefit of MT in chronic stroke motor recovery, little is known about its neural mechanisms. Purpose: To identify functional brain changes induced by a single MT intervention in is...
Preprint
Full-text available
Major depression is a highly prevalent mood disorder, affecting about 350 million people, and around 30% of the patients are resistant to currently available antidepressant medications. Recent evidence from a randomized placebo-controlled trial supports the rapid antidepressant effects of the psychedelic ayahuasca in treatment-resistant depression....
Preprint
Recent open label trials show that psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, hold promise as fast-onset antidepressants in treatment-resistant depression. In order to further test the antidepressant effects of ayahuasca, we conducted a parallel-arm, double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial in 29 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Patients...
Article
Full-text available
The entropic brain hypothesis holds that the key facts concerning psychedelics are partially explained in terms of increased entropy of the brain's functional connectivity. Ayahuasca is a psychedelic beverage of Amazonian indigenous origin with legal status in Brazil in religious and scientific settings. In this context, we use tools and concepts f...
Article
Full-text available
The experiences induced by psychedelics share a wide variety of subjective features, related to the complex changes in perception and cognition induced by this class of drugs. A remarkable increase in introspection is at the core of these altered states of consciousness. Self-oriented mental activity has been consistently linked to the Default Mode...
Article
Full-text available
Psychedelic agents have a long history of use by humans for their capacity to induce profound modifications in perception, emotion and cognitive processes. Despite increasing knowledge of the neural mechanisms involved in the acute effects of these drugs, the impact of sustained psychedelic use on the human brain remains largely unknown. Molecular...
Data
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is generally classified as a mood dis-order with a profound effect on the individual's behavior and quality of life. According to the World Health Organization, in about 20 years, depression will be the disorder with the most significant repercussions, both socially and economically. Despite the substantial progress...
Article
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has just completed 20years of existence. It currently serves as a research tool in a broad range of human brain studies in normal and pathological conditions, as is the case of epilepsy. To date, most fMRI studies aimed at characterizing brain activity in response to various active paradigms. More recent...
Chapter
Full-text available
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is generally classified as a mood disorder with a profound effect on the individual’s behavior and quality of life. According to the World Health Organization, in about 20 years, depression will be the disorder with the most significant repercussions, both socially and economically. Despite the substantial progress i...
Article
Full-text available
Image denoising is the process of removing the noise that perturbs image analysis methods. In some applications like segmentation or registration, denoising is intended to smooth homogeneous areas while preserving the contours. In many applications like video analysis, visual servoing or image-guided surgical interventions, real-time denoising is r...

Questions

Question (1)
Question
In order to perform a fMRI ROI analysis we need some prefrontal cortex region masks. Particularly, we are interested in the vmPFC, dmPFC, dLPFC and vlPFC. It seems that are a lot of different definitions for the same region. So, does anyone know how we can get it from the commonly used atlas (Harvard-Oxford or AAL), combining different labels? Or if anyone has already some of these masks, could it be possible to send to us?
Thanks very much in advance,
Fernanda

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
This project aims at using different techniques of relevance to neuroscience, such as functional neuroimaging (EEG and fMRI), biochemical, behavioral and scales to investigate the effects of ayahuasca
Project
Investigate the consequences of Ayahuasca on biochemical parameters, both in control as well as in patients who suffer treatment resistant depression .
Project
The aim is validate molecular biomarkers for help in diagnosis of Major Depression