Magic mushrooms: Treating depression without dulling emotions

By Ana Sandoiu

Two new studies confirm the hypothesis that the psychoactive compound found in “magic mushrooms” may be a useful new treatment for depression, avoiding some of the side effects of conventional antidepressants.
magic mushrooms
Magic mushrooms, or ‘shrooms,’ may hold surprising benefits for our mental health.

At Medical News Today, we have reported on a range of studies that pointed to psilocybin — the psychoactive substance in “magic mushrooms” — as a potential remedy for depression.

Two such studies showed that the psychoactive compound can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression in people with advanced cancer, while another small trial suggested that the compound could succeed where previous depression treatment has failed.

Treating depression can be challenging not only because some depression types are treatment-resistant, but also because existing therapies have a range of unwanted side effects.

One such adverse effect frequently reported by people living with depression is the “emotional blunting,” indifference, or apathy that comes with taking antidepressants.

A new study — which was carried out by researchers at Imperial College London (ICL) in the United Kingdom — suggests that magic mushrooms could treat depression while avoiding these side effects.

The new research consists of two studies, both of which were led by Leor Roseman, a member of the Psychedelic Research Group at ICL.

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Participants felt ’emotionally reconnected’

In the first study, published in the journal Neuropharmacology, 20 people diagnosed with moderate to severe depression that conventional treatment had not alleviated participated in two dosing sessions with the magic mushroom compound.

Using functional MRI (fMRI), the team scanned the brains of the participants while they looked at pictures of emotive expressions. The scans were taken before and after each drug intervention.

In order to assess the impact of the treatment on depression, the subjects were all provided with psychological support before, during, and after the intervention.


After the treatment, the participants reported feeling better, “emotionally re-connected, and accepting.”


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The Real Reason Your Downtown Died


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Do You Like Your Job?

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Why Pretty Much Everything You Know About Depression Is Wrong

I have a soft spot for writer Johann Hari. We’ve often quoted a key section of a Guardian piece many years ago, Protest works. Just look at the proof.

Below we’ve posted an interview with Hari on his new book, Lost Connections, which is an investigation of the depression industry, although he doesn’t call it that. His work started with his own experience, of being medicated for depression starting as a teenager and only having at best short-term relief. He found it striking that his experience of rising doses with what amounted to relapses was common and was also taking place when the number of people taking anti-depressants and other psychoactive medications was exploding.

As you will see, Hari makes a strong-form argument that the causes of the big increase in reported cases of depression are social, that the modern work environment is particularly hostile to people having a sense of control and purpose that is important to well being. He also contends that the “brain chemistry imbalance” theory of depression was not proven

Dems Who’ve Made Reps Accusing Trump as Kremlin Stooge Turn Around and Give Him Massive Unchecked Surveillance Powers

The Same Democrats Who Denounce Donald Trump as a Lawless, Treasonous Authoritarian Just Voted to Give Him Vast Warrantless Spying Powers

Glenn Greenwald Glenn Greenwald 2018-01-12T14:24:59+00:00

Leading congressional Democrats have spent the last year relentlessly accusing Donald Trump of being controlled by or treasonously loyal to a hostile foreign power. Over the last several months, they have added to those disloyalty charges a new set of alleged crimes: abusing the powers of the executive branch — including the Justice Department and FBI — to vindictively punish political opponents while corruptly protecting the serious crimes of his allies, including his own family members and possibly himself.

The inescapable conclusion from all of this, they have relentlessly insisted, is that Trump is a lawless authoritarian of the type the U.S. has not seen in the Oval Office for decades, if ever: a leader who has no regard for constitutional values or legal limits and thus, poses a grave, unique, and existential threat to the institutions of American democracy. Reflecting the severity of these fears, the anti-Trump opposition movement that has coalesced within Democratic Party politics has appropriated a slogan — expressed in the hashtag form of contemporary online activism — that was historically used by those who unite, at all costs, to defeat domestic tyranny: #Resistance.

One would hope, and expect, that those who genuinely view Trump as a menace of this magnitude and view themselves as #Resistance fighters would do everything within their ability to impose as many limits and safeguards as possible on the powers he is able to wield. If “resistance” means anything, at a minimum it should entail a refusal to trust a dangerous authoritarian to wield vast power with little checks or oversight.

Yesterday in Washington, congressional Democrats were presented with a critical opportunity to do exactly that. A proposed new amendment was scheduled to be voted on in the House of Representatives that would have imposed meaningful limits and new safeguards on Trump’s ability to exercise one of the most dangerous, invasive, and historically abused presidential powers: spying on the communications of American citizens without warrants. Yesterday’s amendment was designed to limit the powers first enacted during the Bush years to legalize the Bush/Cheney domestic warrantless eavesdropping program. The Intercept’s Alex Emmons on Wednesday detailed the history and substance of the various bills pending in the House.

Although the Trump White House and a majority of House Republicans (including House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes) favored extension (and even an expansion) of the current law’s spying powers and opposed any real reforms, a substantial minority of GOP lawmakers have long opposed warrantless surveillance of Americans and thus, announced their intention to support new safeguards. Indeed, the primary sponsor and advocate of the amendment to provide new domestic spying safeguards was the conservative Republican from Michigan, Justin Amash, who, in the wake of the 2013 Edward Snowden revelations, worked in close partnership with liberal Democratic Rep. John Conyers to try to rein in some of these domestic spying powers.

Despite opposition from GOP House leadership and the Trump White House, Amash was able to secure the commitment of dozens of House Republicans to support his amendments to limit the ability of Trump’s FBI to spy on Americans without warrants. The key provision of his amendment would have required that the FBI first obtain a warrant before being permitted to search and read through the communications of Americans collected by the National Security Agency.

To secure enactment of these safeguards, Amash needed support from a majority of House Democrats. That meant that House Democrats held the power in their hands to decide whether Trump — the president they have been vocally vilifying as a lawless tyrant threatening American democracy — would be subjected to serious limits and safeguards on how his FBI could spy on the conversations of American citizens.

Debate on the bill and the amendments began on the House floor yesterday afternoon, and it became quickly apparent that leading Democrats intended to side with Trump and against those within their own party who favored imposing safeguards on the Trump administration’s ability to engage in domestic surveillance. The most bizarre aspect of this spectacle was that the Democrats who most aggressively defended Trump’s version of the surveillance bill — the Democrats most eager to preserve Trump’s spying powers as virtually limitless — were the very same Democratic House members who have become media stars this year by flamboyantly denouncing Trump as a treasonous, lawless despot in front of every television camera they could find.

Leading the charge against reforms of the FBI’s domestic spying powers was Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee who, in countless TV appearances, has strongly insinuated, if not outright stated, that Trump is controlled by and loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Indeed, just this weekend, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Schiff accused Trump of corruptly abusing the powers of the DOJ and FBI in order to vindictively punish Hilary Clinton and other political enemies. Referring to Trump’s various corrupt acts, Schiff pronounced: “We ought to be thinking in Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, beyond these three years what damage may be done to the institutions of our democracy. ”

Yet just two days later, there was the very same Adam Schiff, on the House floor, dismissing the need for real safeguards on the ability of Trump’s FBI to spy on Americans. In demanding rejection of the warrant requirement safeguard, Schiff channeled Dick Cheney — and the Trump White House — in warning that any warrant requirements would constitute “a crippling requirement in national security and terrorism cases.”

Standing with Schiff in opposing these safeguards was his fellow California Democrat Eric Swalwell, who has devoted his entire congressional term almost exclusively to accusing Trump of being a puppet of the Kremlin, in the process becoming a media darling among the MSNBC set and online #Resistance movement. Yet after spending a full year warning that Trump’s real loyalty was to Moscow rather than America, Swalwell echoed Schiff in demanding that no warrant safeguards were needed on the spying power of Trump’s FBI.

If one were to invoke the standard mentality and tactics of Schiff and Swalwell — namely, impugning the patriotism and loyalty of anyone questioning their Trump/Russia accusations — one could seriously question their own patriotism in handing these vast, virtually unlimited spying powers to a president whom they say they believe is a corrupt agent of a foreign power.

Joining the pro-surveillance coalition led by Trump, Paul Ryan, Devin Nunes, Schiff, and Swalwell was the House’s liberal icon and senior Democrat, Nancy Pelosi. The San Francisco Democrat also stood on the House floor and offered a vigorous defense of the Trump-endorsed bill that would extend to Trump’s FBI the power to spy on Americans without warrants, in the process denouncing the minimal warrant safeguards favored by many in her own party. Pelosi’s speech earned praise from GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan: “I want to thank [Pelosi] for coming up and speaking against the Amash amendment, and in favor of the underlying bipartisan [bill].”

In one sense, Pelosi’s pro-surveillance stance is not surprising. Back in the summer of 2013, as the Snowden revelations of mass domestic surveillance sparked a global debate about privacy and abuse of spying powers, an extraordinary bipartisan alliance formed in Congress to impose serious limits on the NSA’s power to spy on Americans without warrants. Back then, a bill that would have imposed real limits and safeguards on the NSA, one jointly sponsored by Conyers and Amash, unexpectedly picked up large numbers of supporters from both parties — despite opposition from both parties’ congressional leadership — to the point where it looked like it was unstoppably headed for passage.

Official Washington and its national security community began to panic over what looked to be the first rollback of government national security power since the 9/11 attack. Fortunately for the NSA, CIA, and FBI, they found a crucial ally to kill the bill: Nancy Pelosi. Behind the scenes, she had pressured and coerced enough House Democrats to oppose the reform bill, ensuring its narrow defeat. The Conyers/Amash bill — which would have severely limited domestic mass surveillance — was defeated by the razor-thin margin of 217-205. Foreign Policy magazine correctly identified the key author of its defeat, the person who singlehandedly saved NSA mass surveillance in the U.S.:


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Putin at Russian Media Industry Conference

Have you ever heard an American President speak so comfortably and informally, yet with such authority, ever, anywhere?  This happens consistently:  when I hear Putin speak, I have the strong impression there is an adult in the room, as opposed to the morons and reptiles the U.S. has been saddled with since at least 1980.

Meanwhile, the entire facade of the Russiagate imbroglio rests on the election analysis of a private data analysis company called Crowd Strike, who were paid by the DNC.  In addition, Wikileaks and William Binney, a career computer genius at the NSA, have both publicly stated that the DNC emails were leaked by an insider, not hacked by an outside entity such as Russia.

Last but not least, do you remember the bragging in the U.S. media when we influenced the Russian elections to get Yeltsin into office?

The conflict with Russia is one sided, and being manufactured through the demonization of Putin and the distortion of news reporting, just as leaders were demonized and the conflicts manufactured with Iraq and Libya.

President Putin meets heads of Russian print media and news agencies

Ahead of Russian Press Day marked on January 13, Vladimir Putin met with heads of Russian print media and news agencies in the editorial office of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. The discussion focused on current professional issues. The President congratulated media representatives on their professional holiday.

January 11, 2018

In December 2017, during Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference, Komsomolskaya Pravda correspondent Alexander Gamov invited the President to visit the newspaper’s editorial office. Before meeting with heads of Russian print media and news agencies, Vladimir Putin toured an exhibition devoted to the newspaper’s history, learned about the work of its editorial office and wished the listeners of KP radio station a happy New Year in a live broadcast.

 * * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. I congratulate you all on your professional holiday. Press Day, right?

Editor-in-chief of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper Vladimir Sungorkin: Russian Press Day.

Vladimir Putin: My congratulations to all those involved in this wonderful profession, an interesting, very important, difficult and, sadly, occasionally a dangerous one, but very important. I congratulate you and wish all the best to you, to all your colleagues, to everyone who works at both print and electronic media outlets, in internet media.

People in your trade are interesting, unconventional, creative, and often very talented. I would like to express my hope that all those qualities, all the talent and efforts will serve the good of society and Russian citizens.

Remark: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: I will conclude my short speech, my introductory remarks, on that note. Let us just have a talk, as we oftentimes do at meetings like this.

Vladimir Sungorkin: Mr President, thank you for coming to Komsomolskaya Pravda.

I have a question for you not as the President, but as a presidential candidate. This year, we will have, I think, a record number of those who wish to lead our dear mother Russia. What are your thoughts on the large number of potential candidates? Do they motivate you, or just the opposite? What are your feelings on going up against 15 rivals, I believe?

Vladimir Putin: I think it is normal and good. To some degree, the pre-election period always strains society, because, unfortunately, there is also a lot of “foam” bubbling up, but still it is good because it gives people a chance and a reason to speak out, to discuss how different people approach these problems.

In general, I think it’s useful. It keeps the discussion fresh and sharpens it. The main thing is to do everything according to the law, as well as certain ethical and moral values. This is the most important element; and on the whole these campaigns I have just mentioned, while they have downsides, they still benefit society. This is why I welcome it. I will be glad to see and to hear interesting, elegant and useful proposals for the country’s development.

Editor-in-chief of the Kommersant newspaper Sergei Yakovlev: Mr President, I would like to continue with the topic of the election.

Alexei Navalny was not allowed to participate in the election. We immediately heard criticism from Washington and a number of European capitals. I would like to know what you think about this and how you see the situation?

Vladimir Putin: First, I would like to say that no one likes when others interfere with their internal political affairs. Our American friends particularly do not like it. We can see their reaction even to unreliable information on our interference, we can see how sharp the reaction has been, aggressive even, I would say. The experience of American election campaigns shows that they hardly allow anyone in.

The situation with our media which were promptly labelled foreign agents and their performance impeded, in a pretty aggressive and spiteful way, I would say this speaks exactly to how they react if someone influences the domestic political situation somehow, especially during the pre-election period.

The fact that they do that themselves, at least make these attempts, is regarded by them as normal, which is absolutely wrong in my view. And if they poke their nose in everything, they should be ready to respond to certain challenges which they actually encourage themselves.

I would ask you not to take this as if we are interfering with something. We are not going to interfere. I am just stating the fact that nobody likes it when someone interferes with their business yet they are happy to intrude into others’ affairs. This is the first thing that comes to my mind regarding some reactions by the US Congress followed by the Department of State on the fact that someone was not allowed. This is the first instance.

The second instance. The character you mentioned is not the only one who was banned. For some reason others were not announced. This seems to reveal the US administration and other nations’ preferences regarding who they would like to promote in Russia’s politics and who they would like to see among the country’s leadership, if not the leader. And apparently, these are the people they count on, they rely on. And in this case, they gave themselves away, they would have done better if they had kept silent.

The key is not who was allowed to run and who was not, because this is standard practice. The key is to understand and to follow the spirit of the law for us inside the country. To understand that any violation of the law, no matter who it is committed by, is intolerable. And that’s it. Including during the election campaign.

Rossiya Segodnya Director General Dmitry Kiselev: We have just celebrated the New Year. I understand you rang it in amid freezing temperatures in Russia. Meanwhile, as many Ukrainian media resources reported, Poroshenko, the President of neighbouring Ukraine, rang in the New Year in the Maldives where he rented a whole island. Apparently, it was there that he shouted “Glory to Ukraine!”

Meanwhile, Donbass exists. It is home to millions of people who did not recognise the coup d’etat in Kiev, and on the whole their fate is not to be envied. There is little good news out of there. True, recently a prisoner exchange took place there but it was incomplete. Otherwise, there is shooting and people get killed almost every day. Does Donbass have a future? Is it a frozen conflict? It seems Europe is ready to forget about it. Or am I mistaken? Russia’s maneuvering is probably also limited to an extent, is it not?

Vladimir Putin: First, I always spend the New Year and all other holidays in Russia. This is simply a tradition. To be honest, I do not even want to go anywhere. I spent the New Year holiday at home and then went to Siberia for a couple of days. The temperatures were really freezing there – minus 33 C – but I like it this way.

As for the President of Ukraine, I do not know where he spent his New Year holiday but I do not think there is any shame in the President going abroad and spending some time with his family there.

Dmitry Kiselev: But he is saying that the country is at war and yet he goes to the Maldives. How come?

Vladimir Putin: I do not know anything about this. I do not know anything for sure and so it is difficult for me to comment. At any rate, he is a wealthy man and can afford to go with his family abroad, to the Maldives or whatever other islands.

As for settlement prospects in Donbass, it seems to be turning into a frozen conflict. Nobody, including Russia, has any interest in this. We would like this situation to be resolved. But a settlement should not cause concern among those who live on this territory. I do not want to predetermine anything now. I have said this many times. I would like to repeat: Russia would be fairly content if the Minsk Agreements were carried out in full. I am referring to their implementation on a full scale – not just selectively as some prefer. All those who live in Donbass should find such a settlement suitable, and it should include a law on the special status of Donbass. This is the second point.

Third. Regarding our relations with Ukraine in general. It is totally abnormal that instead of constructively advancing relations between the two close, brotherly nations and between what are essentially parts of the same people, we see what is unfolding today. I expect that after the Donbass issues are solved, and this will happen sooner or later, there are no doubts about it – inter-state relations between Russia and Ukraine will begin to normalise in general.

As you know, even in 2014, we began the transfer of military property and equipment. Several trainloads were sent from Crimea to Ukraine. The Ukrainian side repeatedly raised the issue of returning military equipment from Crimea. I would like to use the opportunity, as they say, and I want to say that we are ready to continue the process. We are ready to hand over naval ships to Ukraine that are still in Crimea, we are ready to hand over air force and armoured equipment. To be honest, it is in miserable shape but that is none of our business, it is in the same condition as when we got it, and it certainly has not been serviced in all these years. However, it concerns dozens of ships, dozens of warplanes.

As to the ships, I think it will be better if Ukrainian service personnel arrive and take them, we are ready to help them move the ships to Odessa.

There is also a considerable store of ammunition, but according to our military experts, the ammunition may not be transported; it is dangerous, so it must be disposed of on site. We are ready to invite the Ukrainian military for the ammunition disposal. But these are just the most necessary external steps.

Despite all the complexities and problems, trade between Russia and Ukraine increased last year, and the increase was significant. It is a good sign that we have fundamental resources to restore relations in general.

Editor-in-Chief of Nezavisimaya Gazeta Konstantin Remchukov: Mr President, I would like to touch on two interconnected topics – they are staffing for management processes in the country at all levels, in all industries…

Vladimir Putin: What kind of staffing?

Konstantin Remchukov: Staffing for management processes. And connected to that is the problem of social lifts for the young. I am a member of the Supervisory Council of the Leaders of Russia contest initiated by you. I remember when we gathered for the first meeting in the autumn, we expected seven to eight thousand people to take part in the contest. Mr Kiriyenko,


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