Studies in recent years have shown that psychedelic compounds can be used to treat a variety of different conditions,and current research suggests that they could even be used to bring a person back from a vegetative state.
Neuroscientist Adrian Owen has dedicated his career to studying consciousness in patients with disorders of consciousness(DoC),who are typically believed to be entirely unaware of their surroundings.A DoC condition is slightly different from a coma or vegetative state because the person is still technically awake,and can many times move or open their eyes,but they are unable to sense or perceive what is going on around them.
In his research of patients with these types of conditions,Owen found that many of them exhibited similar brain activity as healthy patients.In one of his earliest cases,a woman in an unresponsive state was asked to imagine that she was playing tennis,and her brain responded in the same way that a healthy patient's brain did when given the same instructions.Owen then began to look for these brain responses in his other patients and found that a large number of them had very high levels of brain activity.
These studies gave other scientists in the field a variety of different ideas about how this knowledge can be used to treat DoC conditions.One of the most interesting proposals of new treatments for these conditions is the idea that psychedelic drugs could help to bring someone back from an unresponsive or even vegetative state.
这些研究为该领域的其他科学家提供了关于如何利用这些知识治疗 DoC 病症的各种不同想法。对于治疗这些疾病的新疗法，最有趣的建议之一是，迷幻药可以帮助人们从无反应、甚至是植物人状态中恢复过来。
A paper published this month in The Neuroscience of Consciousness,by researchers at George Mason University,suggests that DoC patients could be given psilocybin to stimulate desired brain activity.
本月，乔治梅森大学的研究人员在《意识的神经科学》上发表了一篇论文，建议给 DoC 患者服用裸盖菇素来刺激所需的大脑活动。
Andrew Peterson,an assistant professor at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy is one of the authors of the paper,along with co-author Enzo Tagliazucchi.The paper does not necessarily advocate for psychedelic treatment,but merely advocates for further study into whether or not it would be effective.
Gregory Scott,a neurologist at Imperial College London has conducted research showing that psychedelic substances can increase levels of complexity in the brain.In theory,these increased levels of complexity could bring an unresponsive patient back to consciousness.
"The simple way of framing it is that disorders of consciousness have low complexity,and these drugs seem to increase complexity.Let's see what these drugs do in disorders of consciousness.Can they increase complexity and accordingly increase consciousness levels?"Scott said,according to Vice.
"简单来说，意识障碍的复杂性较低，而这些药物似乎增加了复杂性。让我们看看这些药物对意识障碍有什么作用。它们能够增加复杂性，从而提高意识水平吗?"根据 Vice 的报道，斯科特说。
There are many regulatory hurdles that researchers will need to overcome to set up a study for unconscious patients,because although the FDA recently designated psilocybin as a"breakthrough therapy"for depression,DoC patients represent different legal challenges because they can't exactly consent to experimental treatment.However,these patients are already subjected to a variety of experimental treatments without their consent and psilocybin is likely much safer than many of the other procedures like deep brain stimulation.
研究人员需要克服许多监管障碍，才能为失去意识的患者建立一项研究，因为尽管美国食品及药物管理局最近指定裸盖菇素为抑郁症的"突破性疗法"，但 DoC 患者代表了不同的法律挑战，因为他们不能完全同意实验性治疗。然而，这些患者已经在未经他们同意的情况下接受了各种各样的实验性治疗，裸盖菇素可能比诸如深部脑刺激等许多其他疗法更加安全。