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Daily Archives: October 17, 2019
Psychedelic Drugs: Researchers experimenting with active agent in magic mushrooms to treat addiction, depression and anxiety – 60 Minutes – CBS News
Posted: October 17, 2019 at 4:46 pm
For most of us, psychedelic drugs conjure up images of the 1960's. Hippies tripping out on LSD or magic mushrooms. But these powerful, mind-altering substances are now being studied seriously by scientists inside some of the country's foremost medical research centers. They're being used to treat depression, anxiety and addiction.
The early results are impressive, as are the experiences of the studies' volunteers who go on a six-hour, sometimes terrifying, but often life-changing psychedelic journey deep into their own minds.
Carine McLaughlin: (LAUGH) People ask me, "Do you wanna do it again?" I say, "Hell no. I don't wanna go do that again."
Anderson Cooper: It was really that bad?
Carine McLaughlin: Oh, it was awful. The entire time, other than the very end and the very beginning, I was crying.
Carine McLaughlin is talking about the hallucinogenic experience she had here at Johns Hopkins University, after being given a large dose of psilocybin, the psychedelic agent in magic mushrooms, as part of an ongoing clinical trial.
Roland Griffiths: We tell people that their experiences may vary from very positive to transcendent and lovely to literally hell realm experiences.
Anderson Cooper: Hell realm?
Roland Griffiths: As frightening an experience as you have ever had in your life.
That's scientist Roland Griffiths. For nearly two decades now, he and his colleague Matthew Johnson have been giving what they call "heroic doses" of psilocybin to more than 350 volunteers, many struggling with addiction, depression and anxiety.
Anderson Cooper: Can you tell who is going to have a bad experience, who's gonna have a transcendent experience?
Roland Griffiths: Our ability to predict that is almost none at all.
Anderson Cooper: Really?
Matthew Johnson: About a third will-- at our-- at a high dose say that they have something like that, what folks would call a bad trip. But most of those folks will actually say that that was key to the experience.
Carine McLaughlin was a smoker for 46 years and said she tried everything to quit before being given psilocybin at Johns Hopkins last year. Psilocybin itself is non-addictive.
Anderson Cooper: Do you remember what, like, specifically what you were seeing or?
Carine McLaughlin: Yes. The ceiling of this room were clouds, like, heavy rain clouds. And gradually they were lowering. And I thought I was gonna suffocate from the clouds.
That was more than a year ago; she says she hasn't smoked since. The study she took part in is still ongoing, but in an earlier, small study of just 15 long-term smokers, 80% had quit six months after taking psilocybin. That's double the rate of any over-the-counter smoking cessation product.
Roland Griffiths: They come to a profound shift of world view. And essentially, a shift in sense of self that I think--
Anderson Cooper: They-- they see their life in a different way?
Roland Griffiths: Their world view changes and-- and they are less identified with that self-narrative. People might use the term "ego." And that creates this sense of freedom.
And not just with smokers.
Jon Kostakopoulos: Beer usually, cocktails, usually vodka sodas, tequila sodas, scotch and sodas.
Jon Kostakopoulos was drinking a staggering 20 cocktails a night and had been warned he was slowly killing himself when he decided to enroll in another psilocybin trial at New York University. During one psilocybin session, he was flooded with powerful feelings and images from his past.
Jon Kostakopoulos: Stuff would come up that I haven't thought of since they happened.
Anderson Cooper: So old memories that you hadn't even remembered came back to you?
Jon Kostakopoulos: I felt, you know, a lot of shame and embarrassment throughout one of the sessions about my drinking and how bad I felt for my parents to put up with all this.
He took psilocybin in 2016. He says he hasn't had a drink since.
Anderson Cooper: Do you ever have a day where you wake up and you're like, man, I wish I could have a vodka right now or beer?
Jon Kostakopoulos: Never.
Anderson Cooper: Not at all?
Jon Kostakopoulos: Not at all, which is the craziest thing because that was my favorite thing to do.
Using psychedelic drugs in therapy is not new. There were hundreds of scientific studies done on a similar compound - LSD - in the 1950's and 60's. It was tested on more than 40,000 people, some in controlled therapeutic settings like this one. But there were also abuses. The U.S. military and CIA experimented with LSD sometimes without patients knowledge.
Fear over rampant drug use and the spread of the counterculture movement, not to mention Harvard professor Timothy Leary urging people to turn on, tune in and drop out, led to a clamp down.
In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the controlled substances act and nearly all scientific research in the U.S. Into the effects of psychedelics on people stopped. It wasn't until 2000 that scientist Roland Griffiths won FDA approval to study psilocybin.
Roland Griffiths: This whole area of research has been in the deep freeze for 25 or 30 years. And so as a scientist, sometimes I feel like Rip Van Winkle.
Anderson Cooper: And once you saw the results
Roland Griffiths: Yeah. The red light started flashing. This is extraordinarily interesting. It's unprecedented and the capacity of the human organism to change. It just was astounding.
Anderson Cooper: It sounds like you are endorsing this for everybody.
Roland Griffiths: Yeah, let's be really clear on that. We are very aware of the risks, and would not recommend that people simply go out and do this.
Griffiths and Johnson screen out people with psychotic disorders or with close relatives who have had schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Study volunteers at Johns Hopkins are given weeks of intensive counseling before and after the six-hour psilocybin experience; the psilocybin is given in a carefully controlled setting one to three times. To date, they say there's not been a single serious adverse outcome.
We were told we couldn't record anyone participating in the study while they were on psilocybin because it might impact their experience, but we were shown how it begins without the psilocybin.You lay on a couch, with a blindfold to shut out distractions and headphones playing a mix of choral and classical music a psychedelic soundtrack with a trained guide, mary cosimano, watching over you.
Everything is done the same way it was for the LSD experiments scientists conducted in the 1950s and 60s. Some of the most dramatic results have been with terminal cancer patients struggling with anxiety and paralyzing depression.
Kerry Pappas: I start seeing the colors and the geometric designs and it's like 'oh this is so cool, and how lovely' and, and then, boom. Visions began.
Kerry Pappas was diagnosed with stage III lung cancer in 2013. During her psilocybin session, she found herself trapped in a nightmare her mind created.
Kerry Pappas: An ancient, prehistoric, barren land. And there's these men with pickaxes, just slamming on the rocks. So
Anderson Cooper: And this felt absolutely real to you?
Kerry Pappas: Absolutely real. I was being shown the truth of reality. Life is meaningless, we have no purpose. And then I look and I'm still like a witness, a beautiful, shimmering, bright jewel. And then it was sound, and it was booming, booming, booming. Right here right now.
Anderson Cooper: That was being said?
Kerry Pappas: Yes. "You are alive. Right here right now, because that's all you have." And that is my mantra to this day.
Michael Pollan: It seemed so implausible to me that a single experience caused by a molecule, right, ingested in your body could transform your outlook on something as profound as death. That's-- that's kind of amazing.
Author Michael Pollan wrote about the psilocybin studies in a bestselling book called "How to Change Your Mind." As part of his research, he tried psilocybin himself with the help of an underground guide.
Anderson Cooper: The kind of things that cancer patients were saying, like, "I touched the face of God." You were skeptical about when you hear phrases like that?
Michael Pollan: Yeah. Or, "Love is the most important thing in the universe." When someone tells me that I'm just like, "yeah, okay."
Anderson Cooper: So you don't go for some of the phrases that are used?
Michael Pollan: No. It gives me the willies as a writer. And I really struggled with that cause during one of my experiences I came to the earth-shattering conclusion that love is the most important thing in the universe. But it's, that's Hallmark card stuff, right? And um, so
Anderson Cooper: And yet while you were on it and afterward
Michael Pollan: It was profoundly true. And it is profoundly true. Guess what? Um
Anderson Cooper: There's a reason it's on a Hallmark card.
Michael Pollan: There is a reason. And one of the things psychedelics do is they peel away all those essentially protective levels of irony and, and cynicism that we, that we acquire as we get older and you're back to those kind of "Oh, my God. I forgot all about love." (Laugh)
Pollan said he also experienced what the researchers describe as ego loss, or identity loss - the quieting of the constant voice we all have in our heads.
Michael Pollan: I did have this experience of seeing my ego-- burst into-- a little cloud of Post-It notes. I know it sounds crazy.
Anderson Cooper: And what are you are without an ego?
Michael Pollan: You're, uh (Laugh) You had to be there.
Researchers believe that sensation of identity loss occurs because psilocybin quiets these two areas of the brain that normally communicate with each other. They're part of a region called the default mode network and it's especially active when we're thinking about ourselves and our lives.
Michael Pollan: And it's where you connect what happens in your life to the story of who you are.
Anderson Cooper: We all develop a story over time about what our past was like and who we are.
Michael Pollan: Right. Yeah, what kind of person we are. How we react. And the fact is that interesting things happen when the self goes quiet in the brain, including this rewiring that happens.
To see that rewiring, Johns Hopkins scientist Matthew Johnson showed us this representational chart of brain activity. The circle on the left shows normal communication between parts of the brain, on the right, what happens on psilocybin. There's an explosion of connections or crosstalk between areas of the brain that don't normally communicate.
Anderson Cooper: The difference is just startling.
Matthew Johnson: Right.
Anderson Cooper: Is that why people are having experiences of-- seeing you know, repressed memories, or past memories, or people who have died or?
Matthew Johnson: That's what we think. And even the perceptual effect, sometimes the synesthesia, like, the-- the seeing sound.
Anderson Cooper: People see sound?
Matthew Johnson: Yeah, sometimes.
Anderson Cooper: I-- I don't even know what that means.
Matthew Johnson: Right, yeah. (LAUGH) It's-- it's--
Michael Pollan: Maybe the ego is one character among many in your mind. And you don't necessarily have to listen to that voice that's chattering at you and criticizing you and telling you what to do. And that's very freeing.
It was certainly freeing for Kerry Pappas. Though her cancer has now spread to her brain, her crippling anxiety about death is gone.
Kerry Pappas: Yeah, it's amazing. I mean, I feel like death doesn't frighten me. Living doesn't frighten me. I don't frighten me. This frightens me.
Anderson Cooper: This interview frightens you, but death doesn't?
Kerry Pappas: No.
It turns out most of the 51 cancer patients in the Johns Hopkins study experienced "significant decreases in depressed mood and anxiety" after trying psilocybin. Two-thirds of them rated their psilocybin sessions as among the most meaningful experiences of their lives. For some, it was on par with the birth of their children.
Kerry Pappas: To this day, it evolves in me.
Anderson Cooper: It's still alive in you--
Kerry Pappas: It's still absolutely alive in me.
Anderson Cooper: Does it make you happier?
Kerry Pappas: Yeah. And-- and I don't necessarily use the word happy.
Kerry Pappas: Comfortable. Like, comfortable. I mean, I've suffered from anxiety my whole life. I'm comfortable. That, to me, okay. I can die. I'm comfortable. (LAUGH) I mean, it's huge. It's huge.
Produced by Sarah Koch. Associate producer, Chrissy Jones
Posted: at 4:46 pm
CHRISTIAN ANGERMAYER has never drunk alcohol nor smoked a cigarette. He is, however, a fan of ketamine. In January ATAI Life Sciences, the German biotech company he founded last year, acquired a majority stake in Perception Neuroscience, a biopharmaceutical firm from New York which is developing a medication for pyschiatric conditions like depression from the drug, which is illegal in parts of the world (though not in America). Along with Peter Thiel, a veteran Silicon Valley investor known for headline-grabbing bets, ATAI has also backed COMPASS Pathways, a startup in London aiming to be the first legal provider of psilocybin, which gives mushrooms their magic.
Messrs Angermayer and Thiel are not alone in putting money into the medical application of psychedelics. A clutch of investors see these drugs going the way of cannabis, whose creeping decriminalisation has spurred commercial interest in the weeds medical uses. In particular, backers think, psychedelic drugs could be used to treat mental-health disorders like depression, anxiety and addiction. In April Imperial College London, inaugurated the first research centre dedicated to psychedelics research. Last month Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore launched Americas first such scientific outfit.
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The market for antidepressants is dispiritingly large. Over 300m people worldwide suffer from depression. A report last year by the Lancet Commission, a body of experts, estimated that mental-health disorders could cost the global economy $16trn by 2030. Sales of antidepressants were $14bn in 2017 and analysts expect them to grow to $16bn-19bn by the middle of the next decade.
In October last year Americas Food and Drug Administration granted COMPASS breakthrough therapy designation, which fast-tracks the approval process. The company is using the $38m it has raised to run the largest clinical study of psilocybin ever. Ekaterina Malievskaia, its co-founder, hopes that the therapy could go on sale within five years if everything works out, including the science. Patients would receive carefully controlled doses in one-off, therapist-run sessions. These may last all day and cost $1,000 a pop. Field Trip Ventures, a Canadian startup, plans to open speciality clinics where they could be administered (and clinical trials conducted).
Sceptics doubt COMPASS can get its drug to market by 2024if at all. Worries about psychedelics side-effects, which can include drug-induced psychosis, abound. And it is unclear their medical use can ever be more than a niche. Finicky treatments make psychedelics trickier to scale than cannabis, which can be self-administered in spliffs, cakes and other forms. Field Trip Ventures co-founder, Ronan Levy, concedes as much. Big Pharma has steered clear, preferring pills which can be manufactured cheaply once approved and need to be taken regularly rather than just once, providing steady revenue streams. That left an opening for startups like COMPASS. Time will tell if ushering people through the doors of perception is a hard-headed business propostionor a trippy one.
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Posted: at 4:46 pm
Youre not being invited to tune in, turn on and drop out, or sit in a white room without curtains but the controlled use of psychedelics a counterpart to the LSD pill drop of the 1960s that sent many people into a kind of end-of-2001-Space Odyssey trip deep into their own mind ( some never recovered or went bats) is showing impressive results at Johns Hopkins University.
Scientist Roland Griffiths and his colleague Matthew Johnson have been giving what they call heroic doses of psilocybin, like the old magic mushrooms from Hippie times, to more than 350 volunteers over the last two decades, CBS News reported in a feature by Anderson Cooper.
The early results are encouraging, as are the experiences of the studies volunteers who go on a six-hour, sometimes terrifying, but often life-changing psychedelic journey deep into their own minds, the report said.
Among the volunteers was Jon Kostakopoulos, who said he wanted to end his daily binge drinking of beer and cocktails, usually vodka sodas, tequila sodas, scotch and sodas, as many as 20 a day he said was wearing him down and out, killing him slowly.
During one psilocybin session, he was flooded with powerful feelings and images from his past.Stuff would come up that Ihavent thought of since they happened, he told Cooper, who asked if old memories he couldnt remember returned again.
I felt, you know, a lot of shame and embarrassment throughout one of the sessions about my drinking and how bad I felt for my parents to put up with all this, said Kostakopoulos, who took the psilocybin in 2016 and stopped drinking on the spot.
Do you ever have a day where you wake up and youre like, man, I wish I could have a vodka right now or beer? asked Cooper.
Never, said KostakopoulosNot at all, which is the craziest thing because that was my favorite thing to do.
As the show noted, using psychedelic drugs in therapy is not new, with hundreds of scientific studies done on a similar compound LSD in the 1950s and 60s, tested on more than 40,000 people, some in controlled therapeutic settings like this one.
But there were also abuses. The U.S. military and CIA experimented with LSD sometimes without patients knowledge, said the report, and LSD took on a bad reputation as dangerous and even deadly in some cases.
When Harvard professor Timothy Leary urged people to turn on, tune in, and drop out during the counterculture movement that brought fear to the establishment, then-President Richard Nixon in 1970 signed the controlled substances act and nearly all scientific research in the United States into the effects of psychedelics on people stopped.
It wasnt until 2000 that Roland Griffiths won FDA approval to study psilocybin. This whole area of research has been in the deep freeze for 25 or 30 years. And so as a scientist, sometimes I feel like Rip Van Winkle, he said.
After the first results he said, The red light started flashing. This is extraordinarily interesting. Its unprecedented and the capacity of the human organism to change it just was astounding.
But he cautioned what he does is scientific in a very controlled setting and that, we are very aware of the risks, and would not recommend that people simply go out and do this.
Griffiths and Johnson screen out people with psychotic disorders or with close relatives who have had schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and volunteers are given weeks of intensive counseling before and after the six-hour psilocybin experience; the psilocybin is given in a carefully controlled setting one to three times. They said there hasnt been one adverse reaction but warn some people will find the experience terrifying and be taken into a hell realm of fear.
Everything is done the same way it was for the LSD experiments scientists conducted in the 1950s and 60s and some of the most dramatic results have been with terminal cancer patients struggling with anxiety and paralyzing depression.
Kerry Pappas, who was diagnosed with Stage III lung cancer in 2013 took the chance on the psilocybin. I start seeing the colors and the geometric designs and its like oh this is so cool, and how lovely and, and then, boom. Visions began, she said. During her psilocybin session, she found herself trapped in a nightmare her mind created. An ancient, prehistoric, barren land. And theres these me with pickaxes, just slamming on the rocks. So she said.
Cooper asked, and this felt absolutely real to you?
Absolutely real. I was being shown the truth of reality. Life is meaningless, we have no purpose. And then I look, and Im still like a witness, a beautiful, shimmering, bright jewel. And then it was sound, and it was booming, booming, booming. Right here right now.
That was being said? asked Cooper.
You are alive. Right here right now, because thats all you have. And that is my mantra to this day, she said. The cancer has spread to her brain but she said her crippling anxiety about death is gone.
Yeah, its amazing. I mean, I feel like death doesnt frighten me. Living doesnt frighten me. I dont frighten me. This frightens me. She added, to this day, it evolves in meIts still absolutely alive in me.
When Cooper asked if the drug had made her happier, she said, Yah. And and I dont necessarily use the word happy. Comfortable. Like, comfortable. I mean, Ive suffered from anxiety my whole life. Im comfortable. That, to me, okay. I can die. Im comfortable, she laughed.
She ended: I mean, its huge. Its huge. Shes freed.
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Posted: at 4:46 pm
On his latest album, True Love, Devon Welsh is singular. Thats not to say that the incisive singer-songwriteris alone in the world, but it wouldnt be such a bad thing if he were. I think its been more solo than the first one, Welsh says of this release, his sophomore outing following the dissolution of his electro-pop group Majical Cloudz. Its safe to say that for Welsh, who moved from his native Montreal to rural Wisconsin before making this album (I think a change of scenery can give you a new perspective on who you could be, Welsh tells me) theres something about the broader concept of alone-ness that feels both vital and terrifying.
That comes across on True Love, a record with such a big name Googling What is true love? brings back 3,460,000,000 attempted articulations it could easily become an abstraction. But rather than preaching some grand theory, Welsh stresses the personal, thriving in the ever-changing grey-space of subjectivity. Songs like Grace, a meditative, acoustic track that sees Welsh attempting to distinguish between the real or the easy Grace, seem to prick gently at the impulse to give into outside forces before looking inward. Still, when I ask if his album intentionally grapples with looming structures and archetypes, he says no. When I sit down to write a song, there wont really be an intention, he says. Therell just be the intention to write a song. If anything, its just about concocting something thats easy to understand.
Ironically, its this earnest simplicity that makes Welshs music feel so definitive. The instinct to translate the personal to the public, to find the communal in the close-to-home, is what makes the album so effectiveand affecting. With this in mind, I asked Welsh his point of view on everythingfrom acid to Roswell to the Xeroxed drawing his dad framed when he was fiveall in the style of Glenn OBriens iconic 1977 interview with Andy Warhol. Fittingly, Welshs perspective(s) on how psychedelics shake things up could just as easily serve as his take on the true nature of true love: Its not set in stone, he says, thinking of our relationships to the world and to each other. Its certainly not objective. And then there were 3,460,000,001.
JADIE STILLWELL: What was your first work of art?
DEVON WELSH: Before I answer, Andy Warhol answers these questions with only a few words, and I know that thats his style, but I dont know if theres some sort of faux pas depending on how many words I use.
STILLWELL: Youre free to use as many words as you want. No judgement.
WELSH: Okay. The first thing that came to mind was just a drawing that I had made that my father then made Xerox copies of, and then he framed one of them when I was a kid. It was just, like, a stick figure, but he was very excited about it, and I think that made me feel excited about it, too.
STILLWELL: How old were you when you did that?
WELSH: I would say five.
STILLWELL: What did you do for fun as a teenager?
WELSH: I watched TV. I lived outside of a town, in the country, and so some people that I knew could hang out. But then when I was at home, I couldnt really go anywhere. So I watched a lot of TV, and I read a lot of books, and I spent a lot of time on MSN Messenger. Then I played sports, and then I started playing music. I played Diablo II and made music on the computer with my friend. And I smoked marijuana.
STILLWELL: Thats one of the other questions. Now youve answered it. Did people say you had natural talent?
WELSH: I was voted most dramatically talented at my high school prom.
STILLWELL: Did you do theater?
WELSH: I sort of did. My dad is an actor, and I grew up in a small town. He was on the CBC a lot in Canada, and so he was a well-known face and a well-known actor. A lot of people would say, Oh, youre going to be an actor when you grow up, arent you? That was something I always heard. And I accepted that up until a point, and then after that I was like, Im not going to be an actor. No way. Because thats not me. So then I didnt audition for the high school plays, but I really loved drama. In my classes, I really enjoyed it, and my drama teacher was the director. So he would always create little parts that I could play. It would be a background kind of thing. Like we did West Side Story, and I was one of the members of the Sharks that never actually had a line.
STILLWELL: Who was the first artist to influence you?
WELSH: The first artist that I ever remember enjoying as a child was Mariah Carey. I also remember the first CD that I ever wanted to listen to on my own was Sarah McLachlan. But the first thing that influenced me in terms of actually creating something myself was probably punk music in general. Because I didnt really know a lot about it, but other people that were making music were into different punk and hardcore bands. So then I started playing that music. Probably inspired by like just other local bands like, Oh, theyre playing music. We should play music, too.
STILLWELL: Did you go to the movies a lot?
WELSH: I did go to the movies a lot when I was young. Me and my friend, Nicholas, would go to the movies together all the time.
STILLWELL: Do you ever think about politics?
WELSH: All the time.
STILLWELL: Do you vote?
STILLWELL: What is your favorite of all of your work?
WELSH: Oh, thats such a tough question.
STILLWELL: They get harder.
WELSH: Theres probably an interesting answer to this, but I dont know what it is. If I had to say something, I would probably say the song, This Is Magic, from the first Majical Cloudz album because I remember the moment that I wrote it was kind of like a moment of flipping a lot of self-doubt into self-confidence. I was very insecure and scared and, at some point, I realized that there was really nowhere to go in that direction, and that there was nothing to lose by just deciding to reverse it. And I feel like writing that song, that was sort of a moment where that happened in my life.
STILLWELL: Whats your favorite color?
WELSH: My favorite color is green.
STILLWELL: A specific green or just green?
WELSH: Like a forest-y green. I dont know the names of the different colors, but something thats sort of dark, not very fluorescent.
STILLWELL: Have you ever taken acid?
WELSH: Yes. I think psychedelic drugs have had a positive effect on my identity and my life. When I was in high school, I remember I got into smoking pot, and then I watched Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and things like that. So I found out about psychedelic drugs, and then I was like, Oh, this is interesting. What is this? Then I read the book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe, and I decided that I really needed to try psychedelic drugs as a kind of exploration. It was like, Wait, I can eat this thing, and then I perceive everything differently? Thats pretty cool. So I tried it. I feel like so many formative experiences have involved something like that. And I think theyre important because they let you see that the way that you think of yourself, the way that you think of the world, the way that you think of your relationships, you can see it all differently. Its not set in stone. Its certainly not objective.
STILLWELL: Do you make music every day?
WELSH: Not every day.
STILLWELL: Would you like to live in outer space?
WELSH: Absolutely not. I feel like existence would lose all meaning, and I would be afraid to know what direction that would take.
STILLWELL: Do you know how to drive?
WELSH: Yes. Ive driven across Canada with other people twice, and then Ive driven all across the United States many, many times.
STILLWELL: Do you look in the mirror when you get up in the morning?
STILLWELL: How much time do you spend on the phone every day?
WELSH: Oh. Either looking at it or talking? I dont know, but probably a lot of time.
STILLWELL: Do you think youre a father figure to anyone?
WELSH: I dont know. I would say, if anything, maybe an older brother figure. I dont think Im at father status yet. I dont think the age discrepancy between my myself and anyone I know is that far away yet.
STILLWELL: Have you ever gone to see a psychiatrist?
STILLWELL: Have you ever hated anybody?
STILLWELL: Have you ever been in love?
STILLWELL: Have you ever tried to grow a mustache?
STILLWELL: How did that go?
WELSH: It went very well. I loved it. Its just that everyone in my life whose romantic affection I was interested in was not interested in me having it.
STILLWELL: So it went well and not well?
WELSH: I really enjoyed it. It was a nice time in my life.
STILLWELL: Do you believe in flying saucers?
STILLWELL: No? You dont think there are aliens?
WELSH: I mean, Im sure there are aliens. But do I believe in, like, the Roswell story? I certainly think the probability is very high that theres some kind of other life in the universe. But the Roswell thing probably didnt happen.
STILLWELL: Do you know how to dance?
STILLWELL: Do you dance well?
WELSH: I think so. Ive been complimented on it before, and I think my best attribute as a dancer is my endurance and commitment.
STILLWELL: Do you believe in the American dream?
WELSH: I think I believe in the American dream in the sense of the Declaration of Independence and the idea of liberty. I believe in that. I believe in the principles that America presents.
STILLWELL: I sense a but coming.
WELSH: But I dont know. Its obviously not real. I mean, its as real as any of our aspirations are, so its always possible, and maybe its a good thing to put on the horizon.
STILLWELL: Do you think the world can be saved?
WELSH: I hope so. I guess the only thing that could save it is itself.
STILLWELL: Do you believe in God?
WELSH: I do in a sense that I trust in my total ignorance of reality, and that makes me sort of believe in God. Or just in my total ignorance as to the nature of reality and of existence. My total ignorance is an experience of God, in a way.
STILLWELL: Do you have any secrets that youll tell after everyone else is dead?
WELSH: I would tell them all, but who would I tell them to?
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Posted: at 4:46 pm
Johns Hopkins Medicine/Wikimedia CommonsRoland Griffths/psilocybin mushrooms
Roland Griffiths is a Johns Hopkins University professor, researcher and expert in the field of pharmacology. He is best known for his research into the beneficial effects psilocybin on cancer patients.
He began his research into psilocybin and other psychedelics when he began meditation. He is a proponent of the connection between science, spirituality and mysticism. Griffiths is continuing his psilocybin research and hopes to complete larger scale trials to produce conclusive data. Preliminary data shows promising results.
Griffiths is also the founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Center on Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. He appears on 60 Minutes in an episode that airs on CBS at 7:30 p.m. EST Sunday, October 13, 2019.
Heres what you need to know:
Studies into the effects of psilocybin predated the Controlled Substances Act, which President Richard Nixon signed into law in 1970. Psilocybin was also used as a substance for healing and spiritual connection in ancient times. The Controlled Substances Act labeled psilocybin a Schedule 1 controlled substance, meaning it has high potential for abuse and does not serve a legitimate medical purpose. Griffiths acknowledges there are risks associated with psilocybin, but his preliminary data shows that there are benefits which he believes outweigh the risks when it is used in a controlled environment.
Researchers conducted studies before the Controlled Substances Act, but their studies required further research. The law effectively prevented studies into whether psilocybin did, in fact, have any medical benefits. His research into the effects of psilocybin began in 1999 after he received FDA approval to conduct studies, he said on a TED Talk in 2015.
His profile on the Johns Hopkins Center on Psychedelic and Consciousness Research says:
In 1999 he initiated a research program investigating the effects of the classic psychedelic psilocybin that includes studies in healthy volunteers, in beginning and long-term meditators, and in religious leaders. Therapeutic studies with psilocybin include treatment of psychological distress in cancer patients, treatment of cigarette smoking cessation, and psilocybin treatment of major depression. Other studies have examined the effects of salvinorin A, dextromethorphan, and ketamine which produce altered states of consciousness having some similarities to psilocybin. Drug interaction studies and brain imaging studies (fMRI and PET) are examining pharmacological and neural mechanisms of action. The Hopkins laboratory has also conducted a series of internet survey studies characterizing various psychedelic experiences including those associated with acute and enduring adverse effects, mystical-type effects, entity and God-encounter experiences, and alleged positive changes in mental health, including decreases in depression and anxiety, decreases in substance abuse, and reductions in death anxiety.
Griffiths founded the Johns Hopkins Center on Psychedelic and Consciousness Research and continues to serve as its director. He is also a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, according to his Johns Hopkins University profile.
Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and founding Director of the Johns Hopkins Center on Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, the profile says. His principal research focus in both clinical and preclinical laboratories has been on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs.
He is also a member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Dependence for the World Health Organization, and he has been a consultant to the National Institutes of Health and to pharmaceutical companies regarding the development of new psychotropic drugs. He has also conducted research into sedative-hypnotics, caffeine and other mood-altering drugs.
Griffiths has written more than 380 journal articles and book chapters, his profile says. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which he obtained in 1972, and he has a bachelor of science degree from Occidental College in California, which he earned in 1968, according to a separate Johns Hopkins University profile.
Roland Griffiths said his interest in research into the beneficial properties of psychedelic drugs began when he started a meditation practice, he said in a 2009 interview with Mulidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies journal. He was trained as a psychopharmacologist, with training in both experimental psychology and pharmacology.
He said in the 2009 interview:
About fifteen years ago, I took up a meditation practice that opened up a spiritual window for me, and made me very curious about the nature of mystical experience and spiritual transformation. It also prompted an existential question for me about the meaningfulness of my own research program in drug abuse pharmacology. On reflecting about the history of psychopharmacology and the claims that had been made about the classical hallucinogens occasioning mystical and spiritual experience, I became intrigued about whether I could turn the direction of some of my research program toward addressing those kinds of questions. Through a confluence of interactions and introductions, I first met Robert Jesse of the Council of Spiritual Practices, and he introduced me to Bill Richards, who had a long history of working with these compounds from the 1960s and 70s. We decided that we would undertake a research project characterizing the effects of psilocybin.
His foray into meditation was a life-changing experience for him, which shifted his outlook on life, he said in a 2015 TED Talk.
Roland Griffiths discussed his research into the effects of psilocybin on a TED Talk in 2015, framing the discussion as a connection between science and spirituality or mysticism. You can watch the full TED Talk here.
Its like trying to mix oil and water. Most people assume that science and spirituality dont play well together, but its not true. Einstein said that the most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. He said its the source of all true science, Griffiths said.
Griffiths discussed details about his studies, which showed promising results in studies on healthy participants, cancer patients and smokers. He noted his data is preliminary and the drug must be used in a controlled environment to reduce risks. He wants to conduct large-scale trials to show more conclusive results, but those require a substantial amount of funding. His research, he said, is only the tip of the iceberg.
Further research will surely reveal underlying biological mechanisms of action, will likely result in an array of therapeutic applications, and more importantly, because such experiences are foundationally related to our moral and our ethical understandings, further research may ultimately prove to be crucial to the very survival of our species, he said.
While Roland Griffiths became most well known for his study into the effects of psilocybin on patients with life-threatening cancer and death anxiety, he started his research on healthy patients. You can read the results of his cancer trial here.
The study on cancer patients showed more than 80 percent of participants experienced positive changes in attitudes about life, self, mood, relationships and spirituality, and many of them reported it was one of the most profound experiences of their lives, comparing it to the birth of a child. Studies on healthy participants also showed promising results with participants reporting similar effects. A high number of smokers quit smoking after participating in the study, he said on his TED Talk.
While the Johns Hopkins Medicine study on the effects of psilocybin showed very promising results in treating patients suffering from depression and anxiety related to life-threatening cancer diagnoses, the study only included 51 cancer patients.
Griffiths wants to conduct a much larger study, but that would require between $20 and $40 million. Without government funding, those funds would have to come from private donors or foundations, he told SciPol, a Duke University science and technology publication.
The larger study would be considered Phase 3. Multiple sites across the country would host studies including a much larger participant pool.
Ross, the NYU researcher, and Roland R. Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry and neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins medical school who led the study there, each said they would pursue a Phase 3 study enrolling a larger group of patients at multiple sites nationally, the publication said. That effort would take between $20 million and $40 million, and with government funding for a psychedelic research study unlikely, at least in the short term, that money would have to come from foundations and private donors.
The study involving Kerry Pappas and featured on 60 Minutes October 13, 2019 was Phase 2 of the study. It was led by the Heffter Research Institute and the RiverStyx Foundation, which are both non-profit organizations.
READ NEXT: Psilocybin: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Posted: at 4:43 pm
Written by Sean Lyngaas Oct 15, 2019 | CYBERSCOOP
Of the countless security conferences held across the globe, only one combines craft beer and malware analysis in the National Security Agencys backyard.
Every year, federal contractors andanalysts at Beltway cybersecurity companies gather for a day at Jailbreak Brewerys Laurel, Maryland, headquarters to trade specialized knowledgein digital forensics.
The training is really good; the beers are even better, said a Department of Justice employee sipping a Lemon Meringue Berliner Weisse.
The DOJ employee, who declined to speak on the record, has been coming since the summits inception in 2015. I learn something new every year, he said, before descending from the bar and taking a seat in front of the presentation stage.
That is the comfort zone that Kasey Turner, a former NSA employee, sought to create when he opened the brewery in 2014 with cybersecurity contractor-turned-entrepreneur Justin Bonner.
We wanted this to be everybodys own jailbreak, Turner told CyberScoop. Whatever drama is in your lifewhile you sit here and drink a beer, we hope that you dont think about that for a few minutes.
The brewerys name is a nod to the cybersecuritydefinition of a jailbreak: using a vulnerability to gain root access to a device and install whatever programs you like on it.
Its more about the freedom of the jailbreak, so to speak,Turner said. Youre setting your phone free from the network and all of the constraints that are put on it.
It was early Friday evening and Turner and his colleague Tom McGuire, another ex-NSA-er, were taking a break from the exertions of running the brewery to reflect on how their project had progressed. Around them, glasses clinked as attendees lingered long after the last speaker had finished to share stories and exchange contact information. 0Day IPA was available at the bar, the walls were adorned with Big Lebowski-themed art, and 90s grunge hummed through the hall.
Before cybersecurity became a multibillion-dollar and endlessly hyped industry, security conferences had this low-key feel.
They were small, they were intimate, and you pretty much went to them because there wasnt anywhere else to talk about this stuff, Turner recalled. This was your opportunity to meet with these people and talk with them and put a face to a handle.
Sarah Edwards, a Mac/iOS forensics specialist who, fittingly, presented on jailbreaking tools at the conference, said the event was fertile ground for collaborating with others in her niche. It helped drive home the many positive reasons to jailbreak a phone, she said, including to study the devices interactions with its applications in order to make them more secure.
While previous summits focused on SCADA systems or Internet of Things devices, this years theme was reverse-engineering malware.
We need to make reverse engineering accessible to more people, proclaimedapresenterfrom theJohns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in between meditations on binary static analysis. Carbon Blacks Erika Noerenberg riffed on the ability of a threat-hunting tool to decrypt payloads, while Google Project Zeros Maddie Stone walked attendees through how she deconstructed a vulnerability exploited in WhatsApp.
Each of us in this room may have a different reason for analyzing [a bug], Stone said.
Mike Bell, a longtime NSA contractor, presented on Ghidra, the reverse-engineering tool that the NSA publicly released earlier this year.
Looking relaxed in a sailor hat after going outon a boatthe previous night with fellowpresenters, Bell talked about his hope that Ghidra would be a valuable resource for academic researchers. Bell, who had helped write some of Ghidras algorithms, stood at the bar, his chin raised slightly, exuding an eagerness about where the project would go next.
The simple fact is the team cant keep up with all the changes in industry, Bell said, explaining one reason why the NSA released Ghidra publicly.
The camaraderie on display is one reason Turner and McGuire say they want to keep the conference small and unassuming, a contrast to the pomp and glitz of other industry events. What started for Turner and McGuire as a means of catching up with former colleagues will stay that way, they said.
Having a conference at a brewery gets people going, Turner said. They talk to one another.
Facts and Figures of Active Stocks: National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSA) – Stock Trends on Market
Posted: at 4:43 pm
NSA has a market cap of $2037.37M. Market capitalization refers to the total dollar market value of a companys outstanding shares. The company holds Outstanding share with figure of 59.02 million and noted 58.72 million floating shares. The company now provides a dividend yield of 3.71% .
Investors are searching for easily tradable or highly liquid stocks, here we screened National Storage Affiliates Trust stock with recent volume of 384083 shares. Particularly for day traders, high volume is crucial, as the higher the volume the more liquid the stock is. Looking around last three track record, it holds trading capacity of 396.65K shares on average basis. If you own a stock that has extremely low daily volume, it may be difficult to get free of in a short time period. NSA registered activity of relative volume at 0.97. The stocks short float identified around of 1.99% and short ratio is measured at 2.94.
National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSA) is stock of Financial sector that received attractive attention from Investors and traders. It gone under observation and created a move of 0.58% at the closed at $34.52 on Wednesday Trading session. National Storage Affiliates Trust stock price identified moved of -0.80% from its 52-week maximum price level and marked a change of 37.48% from its 52-week minimum price level. These 52-week values data help to compare its recent price with high or low prices inside a one-year framework.
National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSA) showed volatility of 1.66% in recent month and perceived a weekly volatility of 1.52%. ATR value pointed at 0.59. The Average True Range is a stock volatility indicator. The Average True Range is an exponential moving average (14-days) of the True Ranges. Beta factor detected at 0.32. Beta measures stocks price volatility relative to the market.
NSA stocks RSI is standing at 65.23. RSI is a momentum oscillator that measures the speed and change of price movements. The RSI oscillates between 0 and 100. Traditionally the RSI is considered overbought when above 70 and oversold when below 30.
The company made a return on asset (ROA) of -0.50% and return on equity (ROE) of -1.80% in past twelve months period. Return on Investment (ROI) is observed at 5.00%. Price to book ratio in most recent quarter was 2.68 while trailing twelve months period, price to sales ratio of the stock was 5.65. Analysts suggested consensus 2.1 rating after analysis. Institutional investors possessed 94.80% shares of the company and 0.91% shares are owned by insiders.
EPS growth (earnings per share growth) illustrates the growth of earnings per share over time. EPS growth rates help investors identify stocks that are increasing or decreasing in profitability. Checking last 5 years, the company displayed annual EPS growth of 34.10% and expected annual growth of 11.00% for next 5 years. The company projected to achieve EPS growth of 391.40% for this year and estimated to attain at 50.46% for next year. The company declared EPS (TTM) of -0.24.
The stock observed move of 1.38% during the past week. The stock marked a performance of 2.80% in the past month and recorded a change of 16.23% over the last quarter. Moving further back, the stock noticed a performance of 22.89% over the last six months and spotted 30.46% performance since the start of the calendar year. Shares of this company changed 35.69% over the past year.
National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSA) stock price is trading at a gap of 2.77% away from the 20-Day SMA and figured out a distance of 4.16% from the its 50-Day SMA. SMA 50 is an average stock price from the last 50 days calculated as an unweighted mean of the previous 50 stock closing prices. The current stock price is moving with difference of 15.85% to its 200-Day SMA. Simple moving average of 200 days for a stock is an unweighted moving average over the past 200 days.
Erik Richardson also covers the financial news across all market sectors. He also has an enormous knowledge of stock market. Erik holds an MBA degree from University of Florida. He has more than 10 years of experience in writing financial and market news. He previously worked at a number of companies in different role including web developer, software engineer and product manager. He currently covers financial news section for our site.
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Space conflict will be a bigger challenge in future than nukes, says ex-NSA Narayanan – Liist Studio
Posted: at 4:43 pm
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Bengaluru: The rise of nationalism all over the world could be attributed to the void created by the top of communism and liberalism, which the 21st century didnt fill with a brand new ideology, former nationwide safety adviser M.Okay. Narayanan stated Thursday.
If in the 20th century, two global ideologies communism and liberalism met with a premature end, what is significant in the 21st century is that no new ideologies have emerged, he stated, addressing a conclave organised by Synergia Basis, an unbiased thinktank.
The vacuum, instead, is being rapidly filled by nationalism here and elsewhere in the world, he added.
The three-day conclave has been organised for discussions on a variety of security-related issues. Narayanans handle got here throughout a session titled The Future of Security: Digital (cyber space).
Narayanan stated the present state of affairs made it very tough to forecast the way forward for safety.
What we are now witnessing across the globe is a new brand of leaders, who practise a kind of personalised authoritarianism, which is making the world a very difficult place, he added. In these circumstances, forecasting the future of security becomes much more difficult.
Nevertheless, he did weigh in on the a number of challenges the world may face within the coming years, together with rogue AI and house conflicts.
Additionally Learn:Modi govt pushes by means of A-SAT missile check that UPA had not permitted
Speaking about threats in cyber sphere, Narayanan stated the financial worth of knowledge has surpassed that of fossil fuels, including that know-how could possibly be an enemy or a good friend.
He stated the web was facilitating cyber criminality and surveillance engines that may commerce privateness for leisure and distraction.
Whereas acknowledging that Synthetic Intelligence (AI) had the potential to resolve complicated issues, he stated it was not an all-encompassing resolution.
Badly-designed AI, he added, may trigger extra hurt than good, saying it was very important to put money into constructing correct techniques. Internationally, he stated, its evident that decision-makers dont possess correct data of AI.
Underlining the significance of the know-how in future conflicts, he stated AI-enabled warfare would change the character of future battlefields and upset the balance of power.
The US, China and Russia, he stated, have all invested appreciable funds to militarise AI.
Narayanan additionally predicted that, within the coming years, challenges to safety in outer house will in all chance exchange the threats posed by proliferation of nuclear weapons.
He talked about China and Indias strengthening capabilities within the outer house and the way theyd examined anti-satellite weapons.
Some of the more advanced nations are engaged in building military satellites with the capability to use lasers to jam enemy signals or even blowing up enemy satellites, he stated.
He additionally added that terrorism is prone to proceed. The broad sweep acquired by radical Islamist extremism in the early 21st century is unlikely to be halted, he stated.
Additionally Learn:New examine predicts impression of India-Pakistan nuclear conflict over 100 million useless
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Posted: at 4:42 pm
Bitcoins recovery from $7,714 at the end of last month gave the bulls more reason to be upbeat. At this price, BTC was down from its 2019 high of $13,880 by almost 45%. To experienced traders, these price swings are somewhat normal. Most importantly, such traders expect the bulls to soon gain momentum and push the price up.
Unfortunately, according to these analysts, bitcoins value could soon drop to worrisome levels.
Wyckoff Logic was created by popular stock trader and investor Richard Wyckoff. According to this method, the price cycle of a traded instrument (such as bitcoin) is comprised of four distinct stages: accumulation, markup, distribution and markdown.
Bitcoins chart has followed the four stages beginning with the accumulation phase in December of 2018 when bitcoin was trading at around $3,000. This was followed by the markup phase when bitcoin rallied from the December lows to the June 2019 high close to $14,000.
At the moment, bitcoin is in the markdown phase where the bears are striving to gain control of the market and the price drops to new lows. The Wyckoff Logic analysis by trader and analyst Moe Mentum predicts that bitcoin will dive to $6,000 or lower in the near-term.
Analyst at Cane Island Advisors Timothy Peterson is of a similar opinion. He believes bitcoin could plunge to the $6,000 zone due to the gap between the price of bitcoin and Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) premium. According to Peterson, there is a notable relationship between the premium paid by investors for OTC shares of GBTC and bitcoins price where bitcoins price follows the trend of the GBTC premiums.
In the past few weeks, the premium of GBTC dropped whilst bitcoin stayed quiet as its price remained relatively unmoved. This unmet gap, according to Peterson, is what could catalyze a more than 25% drop in bitcoins price in the next month or so.
When bitcoins price was well above the GBTC premium, it fell substantially. Now, a gap has opened up again. GBTCs premium has fallen from $4.00 per share to $2.00 per share. This implies that bitcoins price should fall from about $12,000 to $6,000.
The relationship between GBTC premium and bitcoin price has not been stable and predictable over time. However, our fundamental models also value BTC at about $6,000. It appears that institutional and long-term US investors in GBTC are expecting this price level for BTC as well.
Financial analyst and swing trader going by the name Financial Survivalism (@Sawcruhteez) analyzed bitcoins price based on Wyckoff Logic and concluded that bitcoin is going up, not down.
On October 8, Financial Survivalism noted that bitcoins chart pulled from the last week of September up until now depicts the Wyckoff accumulation. Survivalism suggested that the Wyckoff accumulation would be confirmed if the current pullback leads to a higher low above $8,000. Survivalism implied that bitcoin could return to the $10k region if this bullish pattern pans out as expected. On the bright side, at the current price of $8,301, bitcoin is still up 120% compared to the start of the year.
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Posted: at 4:41 pm
Bitcoin plays a vital role in the underground economy and is the principal payment method that is used in the dark web. Those seeking to mask their tracks are gradually learning to use privacy-focused alternatives. Europol, in its latest assessment of internet-based organized crime, stated:
While we have previously reported a small shift towards more privacy-focused cryptocurrencies such as Monero, Bitcoin remains the currency of choice for both legitimate and criminal use.
Europol reported that Bitcoin is predominant in the underground economy, notably in dark web markets due to its familiarity within the customer base. Precisely, Bitcoin is extensively used in ransomware campaigns. Europol states that these attacks are the most prominent cybercrime it tackles.
Hard Fork has previously accounted for many ransomware attacks that demanded Bitcoin to restore encrypted files. Authorities mention that there has been a rapid pronounced shift towards the use of more privacy-orientated cryptocurrencies and hopes that the trend is maintained as criminals become more security-aware. Europol said:
The main developments regarding this trend are on the Darknet [sic] markets, several of which also accept Monero, or in some cases exclusively trade in it.