Psychedelics Get a New Look, and PTSD Sufferers Might Have …

Posted: July 25, 2021 at 3:29 pm

Illustration by Elias Stein

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Post-traumatic stress disorder is a crippling, hard-to-treat psychiatric affliction, and the U.S. spends billions annually on veterans who have it. Now theres new hope for sufferers: psychedelics.

This past Monday in Nature Medicine, researchers reported on a treatment combining psychotherapy with doses of MDMAthe illegal drug known as Ecstasy or Molly. In a Phase 3 trial, the therapy was effective in reducing PTSD symptoms and improving daily functioning in 42 participants. Two months after their last session, two-thirds of the MDMA-treated patients no longer met the PTSD diagnosis, compared with a a third of those treated with placebos.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a handful of antidepressants as PTSD treatments, which provide relief for only about half of patients. The Nature authors speculate that MDMA-assisted sessions produce a window of tolerance, in which patients can revisit traumatic memories with less shame and anger, and without being overwhelmed by PTSD symptoms.

When people see these results, there will be tremendous interest in it, says Amy Emerson, chief executive of the MAPS Public Benefit Corp., which ran the trials. Drug activist Rick Doblin founded the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic StudiesMAPSto pursue the scientific study of banned psychoactive drugs in 1986. Mondays news lifted shares of some psychedelic drug start-ups, even though they werent involved in the MDMA study: Compass Pathways rose 5% that day, to $35.77 and Field Trip Health gained 13%, to $5.18. Doblin jokes about his 35-year effort: Were the oldest start-up in the world.

Its Tax Day 2021. Federal income tax filings for individuals for the 2020 tax year are due today, four-and-a-half weeks later than usual.

The National Association of Home Builders releases its NAHB/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for May. Consensus estimate is for an 81.5 reading, slightly lower than the April figure. Home builders remain very bullish on the housing market.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York releases its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for May. Economists forecast a 25 reading, less than Aprils 26.3, which was a three-and-a-half year high for the index.

Home Depot, Macys, Take-Two Interactive Software, and Walmart announce quarterly results.

Raytheon Technologies holds its 2021 investor meeting.

Novartis hosts a conference call to discuss its cardiovascular drugs.

The Census Bureau reports new residential construction data for May. Expectations are for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.7 million housing starts, while building permits are seen coming in at 1.75 million. Both estimates are a tick lower than the March data.

Analog Devices, Cisco Systems,, Keysight Technologies, Lowes, Synopsys, Target, and TJX Cos. report earnings.

The Federal Open Market Committee releases the minutes from its late-April monetary-policy meeting.

Fortive webcasts its 2021 virtual investor day.

Applied Materials, Hormel Foods, L Brands, Ralph Lauren, and Ross Stores hold conference calls to discuss earnings.

Sysco hosts its 2021 investor day.

Altria Group, McDonalds, and Morgan Stanley hold their annual shareholder meetings.

The Conference Board releases its Leading Economic Index for April. Consensus estimate is for a 1.1% month-over-month increase, after a 1.3% gain in March. Following a stronger than expected gross-domestic-product growth rate in the first quarter, the Conference Board is now projecting a real GDP growth rate of 6.4% for 2021.

Deere and V.F. Corp report quarterly results.

IHS Markit reports both its Manufacturing and Services Purchasing Managers Indexes for May. Economists forecast a 60.5 reading for the Manufacturing PMI and 64.7 for the Services PMI. Both estimates are roughly even with the April data, which were multiyear highs for both indexes.

Write to Bill Alpert at

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