Anorexia has a higher mortality rate than any other psychiatric condition, as patients have a high risk of death by both suicide and organ failure.
Current treatments work for less than half of patients, which is why Imperial College London is preparing to study psilocybin therapy as an alternative.
The school is recruiting female patients who have had a diagnosis for at least 3 years and have tried other forms of treatment without success. They’ll each receive 3 doses of psilocybin, and researchers will use several MRIs and EEG scans to understand the effects of the treatment.
Entheon Biomedical (ENBI) initiated a ketamine study on treatment resistant depression in partnership with Wavepaths. It will monitor brain activity with EEG while assessing the impact of Wavepaths’ personalized music technology.
One of the few concerns that experts have about microdosing is the long term impact on heart health. Psilocybin binds to 5-HT2B receptors, which could increase risk of heart valve disease with frequent use.
Mydecine (MYCO) developed a group of patent-pending molecules that bind only to 5-HT2A receptors, making them safer for microdosing. The company aims to administer these compounds through a microdosing patch to eliminate another side effect: nausea.
PharmaTher (PHRM) was granted a US patent for its formulation of ketamine and betaine anhydrous, a chemical that occurs naturally in the human body and may increase ketamine’s antidepressant effect. The formulation is already patented in Japan and Taiwan, and the company expects to receive patents in Europe, Canada, Israel and China in the near future.
With a 7-2 vote, Oklahoma legislators approved a bill in committee to allow universities and research institutions to study psilocybin for various conditions including PTSD, depression, anxiety, dementia, traumatic brain injury, and chronic pain. It would also reduce the penalty of low-level possession of psilocybin to a $400 fine.
Johns Hopkins researchers followed up with patients one year after receiving psilocybin therapy. They found that 75% of patients sustained significant reductions in depression scores and 58% no longer qualified for a diagnosis.
However, about a third of patients also used traditional antidepressants and 42% received additional psychotherapy at some point during the year.
So although psilocybin therapy can have rapid results, multiple treatment options can help sustain the benefits.