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Recent open-label trials show that psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, hold promise as fast-onset antidepressants in treatment-resistant depression.
To test the antidepressant effects of ayahuasca, we conducted a parallel-arm, double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial in 29 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Patients received a single dose of either ayahuasca or placebo. We assessed changes in depression severity with the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Hamilton Depression Rating scale at baseline, and at 1 (D1), 2 (D2), and 7 (D7) days after dosing.
We observed significant antidepressant effects of ayahuasca when compared with placebo at all-time points. MADRS scores were significantly lower in the ayahuasca group compared with placebo at D1 and D2 (p = 0.04), and at D7 (p < 0.0001). Between-group effect sizes increased from D1 to D7 (D1: Cohen's d = 0.84; D2: Cohen's d = 0.84; D7: Cohen's d = 1.49). Response rates were high for both groups at D1 and D2, and significantly higher in the ayahuasca group at D7 (64% v. 27%; p = 0.04). Remission rate showed a trend toward significance at D7 (36% v. 7%, p = 0.054).
To our knowledge, this is the first controlled trial to test a psychedelic substance in treatment-resistant depression. Overall, this study brings new evidence supporting the safety and therapeutic value of ayahuasca, dosed within an appropriate setting, to help treat depression. This study is registered at http://clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02914769).
The present study aimed to (i) assess the appetitive drives evoked by the visual cues of ultra-processed food and drink products and (ii) investigate whether text warnings reduce appetitive drives and consumers’ reported intentions to eat or drink ultra-processed products.
In Study I, a well-established psychometric tool was applied to estimate the appetitive drives associated with ultra-processed products using sixty-four image representations. Sixteen product types with four exemplars of a given product were included. Pictures from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) served as controls. The two exemplars of each product type rated as more appetitive were selected for investigation in the second study. Study II assessed the impact of textual warnings on the appetitive drive towards these thirty-two exemplars. Each participant was exposed to two picture exemplars of the same product type preceded by a text warning or a control text. After viewing each displayed picture, the participants reported their emotional reactions and their intention to consume the product.
Controlled classroom experiments
Undergraduate students (Study I: n 215, 135 women; Study II: n 98, 52 women).
In Study I, the pictures of ultra-processed products prompted an appetitive motivation associated with the products’ nutritional content. In Study II, text warnings were effective in reducing the intention to consume and the appetitive drive evoked by ultra-processed products.
This research provides initial evidence favouring the use of text warnings as a public policy tool to curb the powerful influence of highly appetitive ultra-processed food cues.
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