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Sunday, February 11, 2007

 

How drugs cause hallucinations

‘The ap­par­ent key to the dif­fer­ence was that LSD ac­ti­vat­ed the re­cep­tor in a sub­tly dif­fer­ent way from nat­u­ral chem­i­cals, said Mount Si­nai’s Stu­art C. Seal­fon, a co-author of the pa­per. The re­cep­tor seems to be “like a switch that can go on in more than one di­rec­tion,” he ex­plained.

When the mind-bending drug ac­ti­vat­ed the re­cep­tor, it not on­ly trig­gered the typ­i­cal changes in the cell, it caused ad­di­tion­al cell re­s­pon­ses, he said. The ev­i­dence for this, the group re­ported, was that the LSD seemed to cause a char­ac­ter­is­tic chain re­ac­tion of brain chem­is­try in­volv­ing a class of mo­le­cules called G pro­teins, which are of­ten in­volved in nor­mal sig­nal­ing pro­cesses.’




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