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Scientists have used light to control the firing of specific cells to artificially create a brain rhythm that acts like the mind-bending drug ketamine.

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Scientists have used light to control the firing of specific cells to artificially create a brain rhythm that acts like the mind-bending drug ketamine.

enjoynz / Getty Images

All in-vitro experiences are about rhythm, team report Journal wednesday Nature.

In a mouse and a human, scientists were able to reproduce the altered states often associated with ketamine by firing certain brain cells slowly and rhythmically.

“There was a rhythm that appeared, it was a vibration that only appeared when the patient was dissociated,” he says. Dr. Karl Deisseroth, Stanford University Psychiatrist and Neuroscientist.

Dissociation is a state of the brain in which a person feels separated from his or her thoughts, emotions, and body. This is common in people who have some mental illness or who have experienced traumatic events. It is also triggered by certain drugs such as ketamine and PCP (angel dust).

Studies linking dissociation to brain rhythms represent “a major leap in understanding how these drugs create this unique state.” Dr. Ken Salt, Anesthesiologist at Harvard Medical College and Massachusetts General Hospital. Solt is a co-author of articles accompanying the study, but is not involved in the study.

Discovery can also be a step towards discovering non-drug methods for controlling consciousness, Salt said.

Deisseroth’s lab made a discovery while studying the brains of mice given ketamine or other drugs that cause dissociation. The team used technology that could monitor the activity of cells throughout the brain

“It was like pointing the telescope at a new part of the sky,” says Deisseroth. “And something really unexpected jumped at us.”

What popped out was a very unique rhythm generated by cells in the areas involved in learning and navigation. These cells were firing three times per second.

To find out more, the team used a tool called Epigenetics. Light is used to control the firing of specific cells in the brain.

As a result, the team was able to artificially generate this rhythm in the mouse brain.

The mice then behaved as if they were given ketamine. And when the slow rhythm began, scientists were able to confirm that the areas of the brain they were previously working with were now out of sync.

I was able to see the dissociation happening in front of me. “

But it was a mouse. Deisseroth wanted to know about people.

And thanks to good luck and sandwiches, he got the chance. The sandwiches provided by Deiceros were part of a regular and informal gathering of scientists in his lab.

“One day they were talking about their job, and one of the neurosurgeons said,’Hey, you know, we have a patient,'” says Deisseroth.

The patient was in the form of epilepsy and could cause dissociation. Also, as part of the treatment, doctors temporarily placed electrodes in the patient’s brain.

This gave the Deisseroth team a way to monitor brain cells in the same area they were studying in mice. And once again, they found something important.

“There was a rhythm that appeared, which only appeared when the patient was dissociated,” says Deisseroth.

To confirm their findings, the team sent an electrical pulse to the place where they saw the rhythm. The patient immediately reported an in vitro experience.

Studies seem to explain how the mammalian brain can temporarily separate the mind from the body-but it is not yet clear why they have this ability.

Studies may also lead to ways to control dissociation without the use of drugs. Ultimately, this could help a wide range of patients, according to Solt.

“In the operating room, I want a drug like ketamine that has analgesic effects without showing these other psychological symptoms,” he says.

Preventing dissociation may also help patients with certain mental illnesses or who are recovering from a traumatic experience.

But dissociation can be beneficial, Solt says.

For example, ketamine temporarily cuts off certain areas of the brain, which seems to help some people with severe depression.

“There seems to be this link between dissociation and the antidepressant effect of ketamine,” he said, so that doses that are too low to produce a mildly altered state do not benefit people with depression much. Point out that it looks like.

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