The never-ending trip: LSD flashbacks and a psychedelic disorder that can last forever

A small percentage of people who consume psychedelics experience strange lingering effects, sometimes years after they took the drug.

Credit Imageman Rez via Adobe Stock
  • LSD flashbacks have been studied for decades, though scientists still aren't quite sure why some people experience them.
  • A subset of people who take psychedelics and then experience flashbacks develop hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), a rare condition in which people experience regular or near-constant psychedelic symptoms.
  • There's currently no cure for the disorder, though some studies suggest medications may alleviate symptoms.
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Study: There are four types of Alzheimer’s disease

New research suggests that there is no "typical" form of Alzheimer's disease, as the condition can manifest in at least four different ways.

  • A new study suggests that not all cases of Alzheimer's are the same.
  • The disease progresses differently depending on where the tau protein is accumulating in the brain.
  • This finding may provide a new route for research and treatment options.
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Researchers identify genes linked to severe repetitive behaviors

A lab identifies which genes are linked to abnormal repetitive behaviors found in addiction and schizophrenia.

Image: Jill Crittenden
Extreme repetitive behaviors such as hand-flapping, body-rocking, skin-picking, and sniffing are common to a number of brain disorders including autism, schizophrenia, Huntington's disease, and drug addiction.
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Psychopath-ish: How “healthy” brains can look and function like those of psychopaths

A recent study used fMRI to compare the brains of psychopathic criminals with a group of 100 well-functioning individuals, finding striking similarities.

  • The study used psychological inventories to assess a group of violent criminals and healthy volunteers for psychopathy, and then examined how their brains responded to watching violent movie scenes.
  • The fMRI results showed that the brains of healthy subjects who scored high in psychopathic traits reacted similarly as the psychopathic criminal group. Both of these groups also showed atrophy in brain regions involved in regulating emotion.
  • The study adds complexity to common conceptions of what differentiates a psychopath from a "healthy" individual.
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Neuroplasticity can be turned on and off in the brain of a fruit fly

Neuroplasticity is a major driver of learning and memory in humans.

Jack Dykinga, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Neuroplasticity – the ability of neurons to change their structure and function in response to experiences – can be turned off and on by the cells that surround neurons in the brain, according to a new study on fruit flies that I co-authored.

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