David Nutt's research while affiliated with University College London and other places

Publications (19)

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Background: Music listening is a staple and valued component of psychedelic therapy, and previous work has shown that psychedelics can acutely enhance music-evoked emotion. Aims: The present study sought to examine subjective responses to music before and after psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression, while functional magnetic reso...
Article
Psychedelics are a unique class of drug which commonly produce vivid hallucinations as well as profound psychological and mystical experiences. A grouping of interconnected brain regions characterised by increased temporal coherence at rest have been termed the 'Default Mode Network' (DMN). The DMN has been the focus of numerous studies assessing i...
Preprint
Microdosing is the practice of regularly using very low doses of psychedelic drugs. Anecdotal reports suggest that it may enhance well-being, creativity and cognition. Here, we use data from a self-blinding microdose trial, a large (n=240) placebo-controlled citizen science trial of microdosing to investigate whether tolerance develops during micro...
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The recent surge in recreational (non-medical) use of nitrous oxide (N2O, also known as ‘laughing gas’) often by inhaling it from balloons, has attracted the attention of some politicians with calls to control its possession under the United Kingdom (UK) Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (currently selling, but not possession, for recreational use is contro...
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A 49-year-old woman was diagnosed with an ER + , PR-, HER2 + , BRCA- invasive ductal carcinoma which progressed metastatically to include bone, liver, and lymph node involvement. Standardised care included a 26-month treatment period with targeted chemotherapy and a ketogenic diet. The patient also began a course of cannabinoid-based therapy, consi...
Preprint
Psilocybin therapy for depression has started to show promise, yet the underlying causal mechanisms are not currently known. Here we leveraged the differential outcome in responders and non-responders to psilocybin (10mg and 25mg, 7 days apart) therapy for depression - to gain new insights into regions and networks implicated in the restoration of...
Article
Psychedelic therapy is perhaps the most exciting new development in psychiatry. Not only does it offer a radical new approach to treatment where mainstream approaches have proven ineffective, but the growing evidence for transdiagnostic efficacy is eliciting a re-think of current diagnostic and symptom-specific approaches to psychiatry. This excite...
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Rationale A general feeling of disconnection has been associated with mental and emotional suffering. Improvements to a sense of connectedness to self, others and the wider world have been reported by participants in clinical trials of psychedelic therapy. Such accounts have led us to a definition of the psychological construct of ‘connectedness’ a...
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Background Over the last two decades, a number of studies have highlighted the potential of psychedelic therapy. However, questions remain to what extend these results translate to naturalistic samples, and how contextual factors and the acute psychedelic experience relate to improvements in affective symptoms following psychedelic experiences outs...
Preprint
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Objectives: To perform a Bayesian reanalysis of a recent trial of psilocybin (COMP360) versus escitalopram for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in order to provide a more informative interpretation of the indeterminate outcome of a previous frequentist analysis.Design: Reanalysis of a two-arm double-blind placebo controlled trial.Participants: Fifty...
Preprint
Psychedelic therapy (PT) is an emerging paradigm with great transdiagnostic potential for treating a range of psychiatric disorders, including depression, addiction, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others. ‘Classic’ serotonergic psychedelics, such as psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) a...
Preprint
This document details an authors' response to a critique of their work entitled: Skepticism About Recent Evidence that Psilocybin Opens Depressed Minds.
Article
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In 2015 and 2016, during the debates that culminated in The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, both houses of the UK parliament debated the pharmacology of nitric oxide and amyl nitrites, otherwise known as “poppers”. The original draft Psychoactive Substances Bill had recommended that poppers should be made illegal. However, after strong opposition...
Article
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Alcohol works on the brain to produce its desired effects, e.g., sociability and intoxication, and hence the brain is an important organ for exploring subsequent harms. These come in many different forms such as the consequences of damage during intoxication, e.g., from falls and fights, damage from withdrawal, damage from the toxicity of alcohol a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Importance Psilocybin therapy shows antidepressant potential; our data link its antidepressant effects to decreased brain network modularity post-treatment. Objective To assess the sub-acute impact of psilocybin on brain activity in patients with depression. Design Pre vs post-treatment resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) was recorded in two tria...
Article
Full-text available
Background Opiate addiction is a major health challenge with substantial societal cost. Though harm minimisation strategies have been effective, there is a growing need for new treatments for detoxification and relapse prevention. Preclinical research has found neurokinin 1 (NK1) receptors have prominent effects on opiate reward and reinforcement,...

Citations

... For example, increased functional connectivity lowers the resting entropy in the parietal cingulate cortex and amygdala (Rowe and Fitness, 2018). Reduced Nucleus accumbens default mode network connectivity improves contentment (Shukuroglou et al., 2022), supporting the relationship between information erasure and resting synaptic flexibility. ...
... It builds on a paradigm initially proposed by Deco and colleagues to investigate the brain regions more prone to drive transition between awake and asleep states [12]. The same paradigm was recently extended to the clinical context for treatment-resistant depression, to find the brain regions that work in promoting a transition to a target healthy state in responders but not non-responders to treatment with the psychoactive compound psilocybin [13]. The approach revealed a map of brain regions that significantly overlaps with the density map of specific serotonin receptors (5HT 2A and 5HT 1A ) to which psilocybin is known to bind preferentially [14], corroborating the hypothesis that the therapeutic effects of psilocybin are linked to a modulation of the serotonergic system. ...
... The majority of studies examining rs-fMRI in healthy controls have focused on the acute effects of psilocybin in healthy populations, with a smaller number also exploring the acute effects of LSD and ayahuasca (23). To date 17 rs-fMRI studies have been reported (19,(24)(25)(26)(27)(28)(29)(30)(31)(32)(33)(34)(35)(36)(37)(38)(39). Study characteristics and the various functional connectivity analytic techniques used are summarized in ref 23 (23). ...
... The centrality of increased connectedness surrounding psychedelic experiences provides a compelling match with a core component of attachment theory, namely people's proclivity to develop strong interpersonal bonds (attachments). Arguably, increased connectedness in conjunction with psychedelic-assisted therapy can be experienced in relation to a wider and less well-specified set of targets (e.g., the universe, all of humanity, nature, see Watts et al., 2022) than those typically considered within attachment theory. It should be noted, however, that a sense of connectedness is a prerequisite to what may, and in other cases may not, develop into full-fledged attachment relationships. ...
... There is now acceptance that cannabis has demonstrable beneficial therapeutic effects in conditions including chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, sleep disorders, and epilepsy, all within a satisfactory safety profile [35]. Here we report on the use of cannabinoids as a strategy for the clinical symptomatic management of EUPD and associated conditions in a case series of 7 patients in whom such a therapeutic approach has been implemented. ...
... Long-term alcohol usage contributes to alcohol-related brain damage and extensive cognitive impairment (15,16) and those with AUD are also more likely to develop Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. These result in diagnostic characteristics such as rapid memory loss, learning disabilities, and amnesic confabulatory syndrome (17). Alcohol addiction results in defects in intellectual function including cognitive impairment and memory degradation, and these impairments may last long after withdrawal (18). ...
... State agencies have only approved using human NK-1R antagonists for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting [118]. Basic experimental research provided much information on the potential efficacy of NK-1R antagonists in other pathological entities related to substance abuse, pain, some types of cancer, and psychiatric disorders, among others [119][120][121][122][123]. The drawbacks have come from the poor efficacy observed in some clinical assays, possibly associated with low receptor occupancy or other factors, and the need to simultaneously target different types of NK receptors for specific pathologies to attain effectiveness [93]. ...