Taylor Lyons, PhD student
Imperial College London
The acute and long-term effects of psilocybin in healthy volunteers
Science is currently gaining an initial understanding of the acute brain action of psilocybin and related psychedelic drugs, but their potential longer-term effects on the brain are not as well studied nor understood. To address both the acute and long-term effects of psilocybin on the brain, this study acutely measured neuronal activity using a wireless EEG cap during two dosing days (1 mg vs 25 mg) and functional brain imaging to examine the potential long-term effects 1 month after dosing. Psychological measures and behavioural tasks were given throughout the duration of the study (< 6 months). Findings include increased brain complexity during the peak of the trip, increased cognitive flexibility in the long-term, psychological insight as a crucial mediator of long-term outcomes, and long-term changes in resting-state functional connectivity and an emotional faces paradigm.
Previously, Taylor completed a BSc in Psychology at The Queen’s University of Belfast and an MSc in Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin. Taylor began her doctorate at Imperial College London in 2015 after being awarded the Medical Research Council Doctoral Training Grant. As a member of the Centre for Psychedelic Research, she is working within the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology and the Laboratory for Neuronal Circuit Dynamics to complete two complimentary research projects for her PhD. Taylor is investigating the acute and long-term effects of psilocybin on the brain and psychology of healthy psychedelic-naïve volunteers. To do this, she uses multimodal neuroimaging techniques, psychological questionnaires and various behavioural tasks.