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Magic mushrooms can treat depression, study claims

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(Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images)

LONDON – The same magic mushrooms used by the psychedelic children of the 60's to launch themselves on hallucinogenic journeys may now be used to treat depression.

The Guardian reports a new study claims an ingredient in magic mushrooms has been found to "reset" brain circuits that are involved in depression.

In clinical trials at Imperial College London, multiple doses of psilocybin, a compound that occurs naturally in the mushrooms, were given to patients with depression resistant to treatment. According to the study, patients immediately began to notice a decrease in depression symptoms.

MRI's of the patients showed reduced blood flow in the part of the brain involved in "emotional responses, stress and fear."

Researchers believe the psilocybin jump "resets" the patients' brains.

The changes to the brain activity in the patients lasted up to five weeks following treatment.

Psilocybin will be tested against an antidepressant in a trial next year.