Study of Neurofunctional Changes After Ayahuasca Intake

Investigator(s): J. P. Pinto MA, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto Jaime Eduardo Cecilio Hallak MD, PhD; Jose Alexandre de Souza Crippa MD, PhD; Draulio Barros de Araújo PhD; Thiago Ferrari Borduqui MSc; Lauro Wicher-Ana MD, PhD; Tiago Arruda Sanchez PhD; Fabiana Mesquita de Carvalho MSc and Sidarta Tollendal Gomes Ribeiro PhD.
Sponsor: None, access to imaging machines allowed by clinic at University of São
This research examined brain activity after administration of ayahuasca. The first study examined brain activity using single-proton emission computed tomography (SPECT) after 200 mL ayahuasca in ten individuals with no prior experience with the material, and a second study examined brain activity with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in ten individuals with prior religious/spiritual use of ayahuasca. SPECT imaging found activation of the frontal and temporal cortex and limbic areas, and reduced CBF in part of the right cerebellar region. fMRI detected decreased activation of language processing areas, and reduced physiological hemisphere lateralization during the word-generating task.