Neuroscience news block: Best of 2017

Ho-ho-ho! Look what Santa brought us here! This awesome neuroscience blog has awoken from the master thesis-induced hibernation and is ready to bring the wonder of neuroscientific discovery to the masses again! What a great present! (I know, you might have asked for a new laptop or a promotion. Talk it out with Santa, I’m doing what I can here).

As this year (thankfully) nears its end I sampled some of the most interesting and prominent neuroscience studies of 2017 to make you go whoa. Buckle up kiddos, this one is gonna be a handful!


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Fear and loathing in Amsterdam or This time I went to a conference on psychedelic research

Oh, Amsterdam, the city of sex and drugs! Just kidding, there is certainly more to it than that. Like, for example, piss-drunk British teenagers coming in on these EasyJet weekend flights. Just kidding again! Amsterdam is a great city which I love dearly and just this weekend it hosted the third Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research. So I guess you can say, I came to Amsterdam for drugs. Psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, ayahuasca, mescaline, ibogaine -- everything was covered. It was great seeing how many research groups are investing their efforts in what can be called the psychedelic Renaissance and how many non-scientists were there to gain some knowledge about these often still stigmatised drugs.

So here you go, your fresh fix of psychedelic research!

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New kid on the (news) block: Neuroscience news

So not only did I create a fancy new website, I also decided to spice it up a bit more. *Intense drumroll* From now on I will do a bi-weekly news block to keep you updated on what awesome stuff has been discovered in neuroscience while we all were struggling through the week. On the menu this week: magic mushrooms and depression, what happens in your brain when you talk to God, and memory enhancement by brain manipulation. 

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Science of being high: Your brain on acid.

Your ego disappears, you feel united with the Universe, you see things which are not there and your time perception is distorted: Even if you’ve never taken drugs these effects sound familiar to you; this is what your friends told you after they took acid at some festival or after their recent trip to Amsterdam.

Prehistoric art suggests that psychedelic drugs have a pretty long relationship with humans, their usage in spiritual and healing rituals going as far back as about 5000 years (our ancestors knew what’s up). However, due to political mostly than scientific reasons, psychedelic research was prohibited not long after blooming in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Currently, what can be called a reneissance in the research of psychedelic substances is taking place as more and more scientists turn their attention towards the neural correlates of the fascinating altered states of consciousness associated with psilocybin (the main component of magic mushrooms), ayahuaska and LSD.

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