The primary aim of statistical mechanics is to relate the micropscopic physics governed by Newton’s laws, or else by quantum mechanics, to the macroscopic physics governed by the laws of thermodynamics. Macroscopic properties, such as temperature, may have no meaning at the microscopic level, but they arise as emergent properties in statistical mechanics when the number of particles becomes sufficiently large. The success of statistical mechanics in explaining and predicting a variety of macroscopic phenomena has motivated the application of concepts and methods of statistical physics to study complex systems and complex networks, including in neuroscience. Our aim here is to apply this approach to a key problem in neuroscience: how can we quantitatively understand the neural correlates of altered mental states induced by psychedelic substances? We first give an overview of basic concepts concerning functional connectivity of brain regions. We then discuss the phenomenology and the neuroscience related to psychedelics. Finally, we review some studies that have applied statistical physics and the theory of complex networks to try to gain a better understanding of the brain under the influence of psychedelics.
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 propriedades emergentes quando o número de partículas torna-se suficientemente grande. O sucesso da mecânica estatística em explicar e prever uma variedade de fenômenos macroscópicos motivou a aplicação de conceitos e métodos da física estatística ao estudo de sistemas complexos e redes complexas, inclusive em neurociência. Nosso objetivo neste trabalho é aplicar essa abordagem a um problema chave na neurociência: como entender quantitativamente os correlatos neurais de estados mentais alterados de consciência induzidos por substâncias psicodélicas? Vamos primeiro introduzir alguns conceitos básicos sobre a conectividade funcional das regiões do cérebro. Discutimos então a fenomenologia e a neurociência relacionadas aos psicodélicos. Finalmente, resumimos alguns estudos que aplicaram a física estatística e a teoria de redes complexas para tentar melhor entender o comportamento do cérebro sob influência dos psicodélicos.
Objective: The incidence rate of major depression in adolescents reaches approximately 14%. This disorder is usually recurrent, without remission of symptoms even after pharmacological treatment, and persists throughout adult life. Since the effects of antidepressants take approximately 2 weeks to begin, new pharmacological therapies are under continuous exploration. Recent evidence suggests that psychedelics could produce rapid antidepressant effects. In this study, we evaluated the potential antidepressant effects of ayahuasca in a juvenile non-human primate model of depression. Methods: While living with their families, juvenile marmosets (8 males; 7 females) were observed on alternate days for four weeks during a baseline phase. This was followed by 8 weeks of an induced depressive state protocol, the social isolated context (IC), in which the animals were monitored in the first and last weeks. Subsequently, five males and four females were randomly selected for treatment, first with a single administration of saline vehicle (1.67 mL/300 g of body weight, via gavage), followed by a single dose of ayahuasca (1.67 mL/300 g of body weight, via gavage). Both phases lasted 1 week and the animals were monitored daily. A third week of sampling was called the tardive-pharmacological effects phase. In all phases the marmosets were assessed for behavior, fecal cortisol levels, and body weight. Results: After IC, the animals presented typical hypocortisolemia, but cortisol recovered to baseline levels 24 h after an acute dose of ayahuasca; this recovery was not observed in vehicle-treated animals. Additionally, in males, ayahuasca, but not the vehicle, reduced scratching, a stereotypic behavior, and increased feeding. Ayahuasca treatment also improved body weight to baseline levels in both sexes. The ayahuasca-induced behavioral response had long-term effects (14 days). Thus, in this translational juvenile animal model of depression, ayahuasca presented beneficial effects. Conclusions: These results can contribute to the validation of ayahuasca as an antidepressant drug and encourage new studies on psychedelic drugs as a tool for treating mood disorders, including for adolescents with early-onset depression.
Objectives: Ayahuasca (AYA), a natural psychedelic brew prepared from Amazonian plants and rich in dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and harmine, causes effects of subjective well-being and may therefore have antidepressant actions. This study sought to evaluate the effects of a single dose of AYA in six volunteers with a current depressive episode. Methods: Open-label trial conducted in an inpatient psychiatric unit. Results: Statistically significant reductions of up to 82% in depressive scores were observed between baseline and 1, 7, and 21 days after AYA administration, as measured on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), and the Anxious-Depression subscale of the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS). AYA administration resulted in nonsignificant changes in Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) scores and in the thinking disorder subscale of the BPRS, suggesting that AYA does not induce episodes of mania and/or hypomania in patients with mood disorders and that modifications in thought content, which could indicate psychedelic effects, are not essential for mood improvement. Conclusions: These results suggest that AYA has fast-acting anxiolytic and antidepressant effects in patients with a depressive disorder.
OBJECTIVE: Obstructive sleep apnea is frequent during the acute phase of stroke, and it is associated with poorer outcomes. A well-established relationship between supine sleep and obstructive sleep apnea severity exists in non-stroke patients. This study investigated the frequency of supine sleep and positional obstructive sleep apnea in patients with ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. METHODS: Patients who suffered their first acute stroke, either ischemic or hemorrhagic, were subjected to a full polysomnography, including the continuous monitoring of sleep positions, during the first night after symptom onset. Obstructive sleep apnea severity was measured using the apnea-hypopnea index, and the NIHSS measured stroke severity. RESULTS: We prospectively studied 66 stroke patients. The mean age was 57.6±11.5 years, and the mean body mass index was 26.5±4.9. Obstructive sleep apnea (apnea-hypopnea index >5) was present in 78.8% of patients, and the mean apnea-hypopnea index was 29.7±26.6. The majority of subjects (66.7%) spent the entire sleep time in a supine position, and positional obstructive sleep apnea was clearly present in the other 23.1% of cases. A positive correlation was observed between the NIHSS and sleep time in the supine position (r s = 0.5; p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Prolonged supine positioning during sleep was highly frequent after stroke, and it was related to stroke severity. Positional sleep apnea was observed in one quarter of stroke patients, which was likely underestimated during the acute phase of stroke. The adequate positioning of patients during sleep during the acute phase of stroke may decrease obstructive respiratory events, regardless of the stroke subtype.
We report a sequential neuroimaging study in a 48-years-old man with a history of chronic hypertension and lacunar strokes involving the ventral lateral posterior nucleus of the thalamus. The patient developed mild hemiparesis and severe contraversive pushing behavior after an acute hemorrhage affecting the right thalamus. Following standard motor physiotherapy, the pusher behavior completely resolved 3 months after the onset and, at that time, he had a Barthel Index of 85, although mild left hemiparesis was still present. This case report illustrates that pushing behavior itself may be severely incapacitating, may occur with only mild hemiparesis and affected patients may have dramatic functional improvement (Barthel Index 0 to 85) after resolution pushing behavior without recovery of hemiparesis.
Relatamos o estudo de neuroimagem seqüencial de um homem de 48 anos com história de hipertensão arterial crônica e acidentes vasculares cerebrais (AVCs) lacunares nos núcleos ventral lateral posterior do tálamo. O paciente desenvolveu hemiparesia leve e síndrome do empurrador (SE) grave após AVC hemorrágico no tálamo direito, sendo tratado com fisioterapia motora convencional. Três meses após o ictus, os sinais da síndrome haviam desaparecido e o paciente apresentava Índice de Barthel 85, apesar da permanência da hemiparesia leve. Este caso demonstra que a síndrome do empurrador isolada pode ser gravemente incapacitante, pode ocorrer associada a hemiparesia leve e que os pacientes com esta síndrome podem apresentar recuperação funcional importante (Índice de Barthel inicial 0 e final 85) após a resolução da SP sem alteração do grau de hemiparesia.
The increase of relative cerebral blood flow (rCBF) may contribute for a change in blood oxygenation level dependent signal (BOLD). The main purpose of this study is to investigate some aspects of perfusional alterations in the human brain in response to a uniform stimulation: hypercapnia induced by breath holding. It was observed that the BOLD signal increased globally during hypercapnia and that it is correlated with the time of breath holding. This signal increase shows a clear distinction between gray and white matter, being greater in the grey matter.
O aumento relativo do fluxo cerebral sangüíneo (relative Cerebral Blood Flow - rCBF) pode contribuir para uma mudança no sinal dependente da oxigenação do sangue (Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent - BOLD). O objetivo principal deste trabalho foi estudar alguns aspectos da alteração perfusional no cérebro humano em resposta a um estímulo uniforme: hipercapnia, causada por um estado de apnéia induzida. Foi observado um aumento global no sinal BOLD durante a hipercapnia. Este aumento é correlacionado com a duração da apnéia e mostra uma clara distinção entre a substância branca e cinzenta, sendo maior na substância cinzenta.