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***See below for blog entry on this episode as well as a complete topic breakdown.***

Our guest today, Selen Atasoy, takes psychedelic science and LSD neuroimaging to a new level.

Selen Atasoy obtained her Ph.D. in medical imaging jointly at the Technical Universtiy of Munich and Imperial College London. She then held a postdoctoral research position at the School of Psychology, University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, where she started her work in experimental and computational neuroscience exploring neural correlates of consciousness. Then she moved as postdoctoral research fellow to the Center for Brain and Cognition, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona and worked with Gustavo Deco (UPF), Joel Pearson (UNSW) and Morten Kringelbach (Unversity of Oxford, University of Aarhus) on neural correlates of different states of consciousness. Currently, she is working as postdoctoral researcher at Hedonia Transnational Research Group, University of Oxford.

Atasoy and her team have developed a new model for interpreting fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) data based on the mathematics of harmonic waves a phenomenon ubiquitous in nature. Essentially, they have developed a way to ‘decompose’ brain states in the same vein as how we can decompose a musical piece down to its individual notes. They call is connectome-harmonic decomposition and have applied this approach to the fMRI data of the brain on LSD.

What they discovered is very, very interesting and Atasoy is on the show to tell us all about it.

This Episode Was Sponsored By The Spirit Plant Medicine Conference,  Nov. 2-4th Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Check them out here

*** If you have noticed this write up is much shorter than normal, it is because I have prepared all the shows to release prior to my speaking tour in Europe this summer, and reducing the write-up was an essential means to achieving this goal. They will pick up again in the autumn. Check me out on tour!



Episode Breakdown

  • PTSD, genetics, and susceptibility to alcoholism
  • The false dichotomy of nature vs nurture and body vs mind
  • Atasoy’s research of altered states and the connectome-harmonics model
  • fMRI research, it’s changed over time and how connectome-harmonics is a different approach
  • Resting state networks, e.g. the default mode network
  • Harmonic waves, natural frequencies, standing waves and cymatics.
  • Applying the cymatics model to the fMRI data
  • Harmonic ‘decomposition’ of fMRI data, analogous to decomposing music into individual notes
  • What did they learn about looking at LSD brain states from the connectome-harmonic model
  • LSD increases the complexity of the brain
  • An explanation of the concept of ’Criticality’ in regards to brain-states, in particular to LSD and psychedelics in the treatment of mental disorders
  • Possible links between psychedelics and neuroplasticity
  • The possible connections between harmonic analysis of the brain and the spiritual concepts of reality as an energetic system
  • The importance of having an open, but critical mind when conducting science
  • Exploring the impact of light/sound frequencies (such as music, mantras, or binaural beats) to alter brain states.
  • Can we, theoretically, recreate psychedelic states with light and sound? Or recreate psychedelic brain-state harmonics into music?
  • Can harmonic frequencies at the basis of reality be the primary influence behind the morphogenesis of flora and fauna?
  • Can the standing waves and frequencies of physical environments influence subjective brain states through brainwave entrainment?

relevant Links

This is Selen Atasoy’s homepage. Here you will find her bio, some selected talks, and further details on her current research.

Follow Selen Atasoy on Twitter
Connectome-harmonic decomposition of human brain activity reveals dynamical repertoire re-organization under LSD (Research Paper)

Abstract: Recent studies have started to elucidate the effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) on the human brain but the underlying dynamics are not yet fully understood. Here we used ’connectome-harmonic decomposition’, a novel method to investigate the dynamical changes in brain states. We found that LSD alters the energy and the power of individual harmonic brain states in a frequency-selective manner. Remarkably, this leads to an expansion of the repertoire of active brain states, suggestive of a general re-organization of brain dynamics given the non-random increase in co-activation across frequencies. Interestingly, the frequency distribution of the active repertoire of brain states under LSD closely follows power-laws indicating a re-organization of the dynamics at the edge of criticality. Beyond the present findings, these methods open up for a better understanding of the complex brain dynamics in health and disease.


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*** Special thanks to patrons Thomas & Melanie H., Clean S., Greg A., Dean H., Joe A., Andy D., Angela & James J., Ian C., Reese. H., Harry P., Don J., Robbie G., & Yvette C.


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