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Thread: Ayahuasca and ALS

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    Distinguished Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    Default Ayahuasca and ALS

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    Ayahuasca and ALS

    By Daniel Gustafsson

    This article is the culmination of six years' work, having studied ethnobotanical natural medicine and the field of neurodisease, making connections between the two in the search for something viable in terms of an alternative treatment option for ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and similar neurodegenerative conditions.

    Ayahuasca could effectively be used in treatment of ALS and other motor neuron diseases. Studies suggest uniquely antioxidative effects that seem to protect brain/nerve cells, targeting motor neurons through a unique biochemical transport system, and that it and other molecularly similar substances, also naturally occurring, stimulate the development of new brain/nerve cells, and the communicative capacity between these. In studies it has been found to reduce symptoms in Parkinson’s patients – all neurodegenerative diseases share common ground, thus making it likely that something that improves a given neurological condition could also be beneficial to other conditions nearly related. Also based on credible personal accounts from people having used ayahuasca for symptom relief from their multiple sclerosis, documented in books about ayahuasca, and from descriptions of early stage minor improvement by those with various types of ALS now participating in the treatment project, already having used this medicine for a period of time. Studies also indicate ability to normalize metabolism in mitochondria, crucial to motor neuron survival, and to regulate and decrease levels of excitotoxicity in the central nervous system.

    Natural substances extracted from the ayahuasca plants have been found to possess unique restorative and strongly antioxidative properties on specific nerve cells in the brain and central nervous system – controlling neurotransmission, muscle/motor activity, memory and coordination. This gives probable cause to the theory that ayahuasca could be an effective treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Promising results as of date has also been obtained from studying the substance psilocybin, very closely related to the substances found in ayahuasca, naturally occuring in certain species of medicinal mushrooms consumed by the indigenous people where ayahuasca is also used.

    According to Dr. Juan Ramos, head of the neurological disease department at the South Florida university, USA, initial studies show that these substances stimulate the development of new cells in the areas of the brain controlling the above mentioned functions. If this could prove to be an eventual cure through complete restoration of damaged or destroyed cells remains to be seen, but initial results indicate this could potentially be the case. There is also a growing interest in exploring the cell regenerative properities of these plants within the spinal chord injury support communities. Should people with this background eventually try and find the results of this treatment useful, medical science would be bound to take note. Cancer researchers have also shown interest in B. Caapi, as its different alkaloids have been shown to be effective against the growth of cancer cells.

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    Low dose ibogaine therapy

    Parkinson’s disease, ALS and Alzheimer’s Disease are chronic disorders with no known cure. Most neurodegenerative diseases require management with prescription medications that can have considerable side effects, which may cause a very poor quality of life for terminal sufferers. In turn, Ibogaine may be very benefical to those with degenerative neurological diseases. Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive indole alkaloid derived from the roots of the African rain forest shrub Tabernanthe iboga. Ibogaine is part of the Apocynaceae family and traditionally used by the Bwiti, indigenous peoples of Western Africa; in low doses to combat fatigue, hunger and thirst. Use of higher doses of ibogaine is part of spiritual initiation ceremonies, and in modern times, used for addiction interruption. A patent application was filed in 2005 for treating and preventing neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and mild cognitive impairment with ibogaine.

    Ibogaine increases levels of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in the brain (He & Ron 2006), and this appears to have neuroprotective properties that promote the survival of both dopaminergic and motor neurons (Bermingham et al. 2004; He and Ron 2006). GDNF can also cause sprouting of dopaminergic fibers and clinical improvement in experimental animal and human studies in which the test subjects had Parkinson’s Disease, with the resultant clinical improvement in symptoms (Love et al. 2005). GDNF has been shown to have potent neurotrophic factor in both rodent and primate models of Parkinson’s disease (Gill et al. 2003). Direct brain infusion of GDNF into the brains of five Parkinson sufferers resulted in a 39% improvement in the off-medication motor sub-score of the Unite Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and a 61% improvement in the activities of daily living sub score (Gill et al. 2003). Positron emission tomography (PET) scans of dopamine uptake showed a significant 28% increase in putamen dopamine storage after 18 months, indicating a direct effect of GDNF on dopamine function.

    Furthermore, after one year, no serious clinical side effects were observed (Gill et al. 2003). The use of Iboga alkaloid extract or Ibogaine would provide a longer term and much less invasive method of GDNF administration than direct brain infusion. Thus, further research on Ibogaine and GDNF is certainly warranted. Ibogaine therapy may offer a non-invasive and low-toxicity method of treatment for sufferers of this disease.

    -Tom Grodski

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    Ayahuasca for treatment of ALS and other motor neuron diseases

    Natural substances extracted from the ayahuasca plants have been found to possess unique restorative and strongly antioxidative properties on specific nerve cells in the brain and central nervous system – controlling neurotransmission, muscle/motor activity, memory and coordination. This gives probable cause to the theory that ayahuasca could be an effective treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Promising results as of date has also been obtained from studying the substance psilocybin, very closely related to the substances found in ayahuasca, naturally occuring in certain species of medicinal mushrooms consumed by the indigenous people where ayahuasca is also used.

    According to Dr. Juan Ramos, head of the neurological disease department at the South Florida university, USA, initial studies show that these substances stimulate the development of new cells in the areas of the brain controlling the above mentioned functions. If this could prove to be an eventual cure through complete restoration of damaged or destroyed cells remains to be seen, but initial results indicate this could potentially be the case. There is also a growing interest in exploring the cell regenerative properties of these plants within the spinal chord injury support communities. Should people with this background eventually try and find the results of this treatment useful, medical science would be bound to take note. Cancer researchers have also shown interest in B. Caapi, as its different alkaloids has shown to be effective against the growth of cancer cells.

    Summary

    Ayahuasca could effectively be used in treatment of ALS and other motor neuron diseases based on the fact that studies suggest uniquely antioxidative effects that seem to protect brain/nerve cells, targeting motor neurons through a unique biochemical transport system, and that it and other molecularly similar substances, also naturally occurring, stimulate neurogenesis – the development of new brain/nerve cells, and the communicative capacity between these. In studies it has been found to reduce symptoms in Parkinson’s patients – all neurodegenerative diseases share common ground, thus making it likely that something that improves a given neurological condition could also be beneficial to other conditions nearly related. Also based on credible personal accounts from people having used ayahuasca for symptom relief from their multiple sclerosis (once again – the common ground of neurodegenerative diseases), documented in books about ayahuasca, and from descriptions of early stage minor improvement by those with various types of ALS now participating in the treatment project, already having used this medicine for a period of time. Studies also indicate ability to normalize metabolism in mitochondria, crucial to motor neuron survival, and to regulate and decrease levels of excitotoxicity in the central nervous system.

    -Daniel Gustafsson

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    PATIENT REPORT: Ayahuasca and ALS

    Male, 65, UK, diagnosed with ALS

    Q: What can you tell us in general about your medical condition, and to what degree has it affected you? (At the point prior to treatment using ayahuasca)

    A: My prognosis as of March 2013 was that of a one-year life expectancy, I did get a specific MND diagnosis confirmed by a consultant neurologist, on the back of which an insurance company paid up on my critical illness cover, there being a clear understanding that I would probably not last the year. I was very weak and trembly, had lost over 20 pounds in muscle mass, my knees were prone to swelling and I was racked by cramps and muscle twitching. I could barely manage stairs, and couldn’t get out of the bath unassisted. I remember being a little challenged by a four inch step across the end of the room, choosing my best leg to step down.

    Q: Describe a typical experience with ayahuasca. What is it like during the immediate time the medicine is active in the body? What has been experienced afterwards?

    A: Initially a fair amount of retching, although I didn’t actually vomit much. Then some spastic activity, after which a warmth spread throughout my chest cavity, and sensations from the connection between muscle tissue and skeletal bone. It left me exhausted, but it “mellowed out” after a while into a contemplation state of mind where the concept of fear had a major part. Stressful emotions such as fear and anxiety seems to be a major vexation (in relation to neurological diseases), and the ayahuasca seemed to soothe that too. I didn’t feel that much different immediately afterwards, I suppose I felt a little more relaxed, but the following weeks (after sessions) my massage therapist said the muscle twitching was much improved, and I continued to recover steadily.

    Q: Has this treatment relieved or improved your condition in any way so far?

    A: I have made essentially a full recovery, slow but persistent, and NHS consultants involved are mystified. Ayahuasca seems to me to have been instrumental in my recovery, which is fully documented. I am now fully healthy, I cycle to work. Now, after today doing a nine mile coastal walk for the pleasure it, I feel pretty much up to snuff, for a man of my age. A year after my diagnosis I held a party to express my gratitude to all the people who had helped me through, including T.H., the consultant neurologist (he didn’t actually come). I was by that time much better, not up to full strength, but could party on and play the saxophone. I told my doctors about ayahuasca in August of 2013 I think, it was for a six monthly reassessment of my condition. T.H was frankly astonished, and when challenged said that the diagnosis was absolutely sound adding that the nerve conductivity tests were particularly unequivocal. It was then that I told him about the ayahuasca, and rather sheepishly, and mistakenly, he asked me if I had had a “good trip?” I replied that it had been unpleasant and that it was not a therapy for the faint hearted. Since then T.H has presented my case to some regional peer group, and a professor K.T. Their response was that perhaps I had a “mimic”, which seems to be exactly the same as the disease except for the outcome; or that the condition might have been brought upon me by the “cocktail of therapies I was taking” at the time. I have yet to make a measured response to this, but it was not until I had serious symptoms that were initially interpreted as Lyme’s disease or an atypical sero-negative rheumatoid arthritic condition, that I embarked on any kind of medical therapy at all. The history presents a persuasive argument. My family, friends and some of my patients are aware of my ayahuasca treatment and are generally supportive. My wife plays tennis with a number of retired GPs – their general opinion is that whatever I did can’t be too bad. Hell I’m still walking about and they were initially supporting my wife and family on the clear expectation of my imminent demise.

    Q: Will you continue this treatment? If so, will you make any changes to your current regimen?

    A: I don’t see any necessity to carry on being treated. I might do the ayahuasca again but that would really be just out of curiosity.

    Q: Have you been following any particular diet prior to, or during your treatment?

    A: Lots of organic fruit and vegetables, and I have a small holding so we have organic lamb and chicken too. I haven’t eaten dairy for the past two years, and I seldom drink alcohol though I had a glass of cider the other day.

    Q: What made you try this alternative treatment?

    A: It was an inspired patient who in doing an art degree in Plymouth came across the (ayahuasca) visionary art, and drew my attention to its source. Curiously some members of the church group with whom I sit proved an unexpected source of interest and loaned me various books on the topic, including those of the late Alexander T. Shulgin.
    Last edited by Sherman Peabody; 09-25-2017 at 11:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Distinguished Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    Ibogaine, GDNF expression and neurodegenerative diseases

    The following is a summary on existing research looking at the influence of Ibogaine on glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) levels in the brain, and the beneficial impact that an increase in this protein can have. While existing studies have examined these areas, few have identified a possible link between Ibogaine, GDNF expression and neurodegenerative diseases.

    Both Parkinson’s disease and Motor neuron disease are chronic disorders with no known cure, and require management with drugs that can have considerable side effects, causing a very poor quality of life for terminal stage sufferers of these diseases. By contrast, a low dose regime of Ibogaine or Iboga alkaloid extract would be of low toxicity and free of serious side effects.

    GDNF has been shown to have potent neurotrophic factor in both rodent and primate models of Parkinson’s disease (Gill et al. 2003). Direct brain infusion of GDNF into the brains of five Parkinson sufferers resulted in a 39% improvement in the off-medication motor sub-score of the Unite Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and a 61% improvement in the activities of daily living sub score (Gill et al. 2003). Positron emission tomography (PET) scans of dopamine uptake showed a significant 28% increase in putamen dopamine storage after 18 months, indicating a direct effect of GDNF on dopamine function. Furthermore, after one year, no serious clinical side effects were observed (Gill et al. 2003). The use of Iboga alkaloid extract or Ibogaine would provide a longer term and much less invasive method of GDNF administration than direct brain infusion. Thus, further research on Ibogaine and GDNF is certainly warranted.

    Regarding motor neuron disease, the little research that has occurred in this area, such as gene transfer of neurotrophic factors, suggests potential in the treatment of motor neuron disease (Haase et al. 1997). Again, Ibogaine therapy may offer a straightforward, non-invasive, cheap, low-toxicity method of treatment for sufferers of this disease.

    -Bancopuma

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    Psilocybin found to stimulate neurogenesis

    By Aaron Kase

    In a study conducted by the University of South Florida, researchers measured the effects of mushrooms on mice that had been conditioned to fear certain stimuli. The results were striking: Not only did psilocybin help them get over their fear, it also promoted growth of new brain cells.

    During the experiment, mice were exposed to an auditory tone while receiving an electric shock, training them to fear the noise even when the shock was not administered. Mice that received low doses of psilocybin, however, were quickly able to shed their aversion to the tone, while mice that did not take the substance took longer to return to normal. “They stopped freezing; they lost their fear,” study co-author Dr. Juan Sanchez-Ramos said.

    What’s more, the psychedelic mice showed growth in new brain cells, perhaps erasing memories of the fear response. Researchers think that the psilocybin is binding to brain receptors that stimulate growth and healing, acting on the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is essential to learning and forming memories. Since PTSD is thought to result from a similar response in which patients cannot separate a stimulus from a traumatic event, psilocybin could perhaps help them heal their brains just like it did for the mice.

    “Memory, learning, and the ability to relearn that a once threatening stimuli is no longer a danger absolutely depends on the ability of the brain to alter its connections,” said study leader, Dr. Briony Catlow. of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development.

    Psychedelics work by overriding the “default mode network” in the brain, which is thought to be responsible for wandering minds, self-criticism and an inability to focus on the outside world. Instead, the substances help people focus on living in the moment, similar to many Eastern meditation practices.

    That can also help with PTSD as well as other mental disorders like depression.

    “People with depression have overactive default mode networks and so ruminate on themselves, on their inadequacies, on their badness, that they are worthless, that they have failed — to an extent that is sometimes delusional,” David Nutt, of the Imperial College London’s Neuropsychopharmacology Unit, said to Natural News. “Psilocybin appears to block that activity and stops this obsessive rumination.

    The therapeutic value seems clear. “Psilocybin facilitates extinction of the classically conditioned fear response, and this, and similar agents, should be explored as potential treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions,” the study concludes. However, despite its demonstrated success and unlimited potential, psilocybin is currently banned.

  3. #3
    Distinguished Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    Substance in ayahuasca stimulates generation of human neural cells

    Ayahuasca is a beverage that has been used for centuries by Native South-Americans. Studies suggest that it exhibits anxiolytic and antidepressant effects in humans.
    One of the main substances present in the beverage is harmine, a beta-carboline which potential therapeutic effects for depression has been recently described in mice.

    “It has been shown in rodents that antidepressant medication acts by inducing neurogenesis. So we decided to test if harmine, an alkaloid with the highest concentration in the psychotropic plant decoction ayahuasca, would trigger neurogenesis in human neural cells”, said Vanja Dakic, PhD student and one of the authors in the study.

    In order to elucidate these effects, researchers from the D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) and the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (ICB-UFRJ) exposed human neural progenitors to this beta-carboline. After four days, harmine led to a 70% increase in proliferation of human neural progenitor cells.

    Researchers were also able to identify how the human neural cells respond to harmine. The described effect involves the inhibition of DYRK1A, which is located on chromosome 21 and is over activated in patients with Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease.

    “Our results demonstrate that harmine is able to generate new human neural cells, similarly to the effects of classical antidepressant drugs, which frequently are followed by diverse side effects. The observation that harmine inhibits DYRK1A in neural cells allows us to speculate about future studies to test its potential therapeutic role over cognitive deficits observed in Down syndrome and neurodegenerative diseases”, suggests Stevens Rehen, researcher from IDOR.

    -D'Or Institute

    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_relea...-spi120716.php
    Last edited by Sherman Peabody; 10-05-2017 at 01:47 PM.

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