By Andrew Husband
Whether it’s the musical preferences of cats or the bacterial composition of the New York City subway system, scientific research deemed worthy of note often perplexes most who hear or read about it. Yet the news from WALACEA, a crowdfunding website dedicated to helping researchers fund their work, is different. It’s actually quite groovy, baby.
The poorly-named Dr. David Nutt (Imperial College London), Amanda Feilding (Beckley Foundation), and Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris (Imperial College London) are all a part of the ongoing study, which has been many years in the making. They want to know how and why psychedelics work in the brain:
The main purpose of the imaging study is to determine how LSD works on the human brain to produce its characteristic psychological effects. This question has never been addressed before. Understanding more about the physiological effects of LSD will help us shed light on potential medical interventions as well as help us learn more about consciousness. In many respects how the brain works is still a mystery. By researching how psychedelics work, we will be a step closer to understanding how specific areas of the brain are affected to induce certain psychological effects. (Via WALACEA)
WALACEA’s campaign page for the study was published on Wednesday with a stated goal of £25,000. As of this writing, the imaging study has surpassed this with £29,253 in public contributions. With the campaign’s end date set for April 18th, the researchers have upped the ante with a new goal of £50,000 and an additional project:
One question that has been on our minds for sometime, is how does LSD influence creativity? With further funding, we will extend the current study to include a further module which will combine brain imaging with the investigation of the effects of LSD on creativity and problem solving. To fund this study completely we need to raise a further £50k. We would really love to run this study so we’re just going to go for it! (Via WALACEA)
Those who pledge £1,000 or more get to dine with the scientists involved at a private function (with a limit of 10). Hopefully, those who attend this intimate intellectual gathering are going for the brain food and not for the supposed fix.