Using Machine Learning and Big Data, a team of Canadian researchers tried to understand the effect of drugs on the brain. In the near future, artificial intelligence could recommend drugs to treat various mental illnesses.
the human brain is an infinitely complex organ, and we are still far from understanding all its secrets. However, science is gradually discovering the workings and mechanisms of this mysterious system.
Over time, we better understand how the brain works. On time Big Data, scientists now have vast datasets to mine. And developing systems of artificial intelligencewe were able to better understand our own intelligence.
Recently, researchers have noticed, for example, that psychedelic drugs can help people with mental disorders or illnesses. In order to better understand this phenomenon, the team of Canadian researchers by Dr. Bzdok tried to exploit machine learning.
What is the default mode network?
The Default Mode Network (DMN) or default mode network of the brain is a system that humans only discovered in the 21st century. This system is very useful for understanding how drugs work.
It is the deepest neural processing layer of our brain. DMN activates when the brain is not focused on a task, such as looking out a window while reading a book.
Among all brain networks, the DMN is the one that consumes the most energy. Yet, despite only making up 2% of body mass, the brain already consumes 20% of all the body’s energy. The default mode network is therefore one of the most energy-intensive systems in the human organism.
Otherwise, during human biological evolution, the parts of the brain involved in DMN are those that have increased in size the most. These are also the parts that have evolved the most compared to the brain of our ancestors the apes.
So what is the Default Mode Network for, and why does it consume so much power? According to Dr. Bzdok, neuroscience experiments suggest that this network has the role to model probabilities.
In other words, the DMN helps humans anticipate the future. It helps to perceive the world from different perspectives, to find solutions, to know how to give value to the information in our environment and to make good decisions for the future.
For instance, a frog cannot foresee to hunt an insect two weeks in advance. The mental abilities bestowed by his brain circuit do not allow him. She can only react and process information from her current sensory environment.
L’human therefore enjoys an immense advantage thanks to the default mode network that it developed during its evolution. Thus, this network could be essential for human intelligence, thought and consciousness.
DMN, drugs and mental health
According to Dr. Bzdok’s team, the DMN seems to be located at the crossroads of several elements of the brain, including creativity and most psychiatric disorders. It is therefore possible that mental illnesses are the flip side of the coin of human evolutionary advantage.
However, by correcting the default mode network, it could be possible to treat these diseases. Psychedelic drugs, also closely related to DMN, are a potential solution.
Indeed, to make sense of our world, the brain needs filter the majority of information captured by the senses. One of the effects of psychedelics is precisely to remove these filters, developed over time and impacting the way our DMN processes and interprets data.
AI links reports of psychedelic experiences and brain data
How DMN works and the impact of psychedelic drugs involves a lot of data. Thus, Machine Learning can help understand how different receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain relate to the different experiences individuals have after substance use.
Using artificial intelligence, Dr. Bzdok’s researchers managed to combine three sets of information separated for the first time. The first dataset is made up of thousands of testimonials from people describing their experiences with psychedelics.
The second brings together receptor affinity data known for the different drug compounds. Finally, the third set of data gathers information on the location of the various receivers of the brain and their density.
The researchers trained a machine learning system using data analysis and natural language processingto determine the components of an experience with a psychedelic drug.
This AI now makes it possible to connect a person’s experiences with the areas of the brain affected by the drug. It is therefore possible to know the specific effects of different parts of the brain under the influence of specific drugs.
The experiment conducted by Canadian researchers from the Dr Bzdok team demonstrates that Machine Learning can help understand the effect of drugs on the brain and its default mode network. Soon, AI could predict which drugs can help treat various mental illnesses. This would be a valuable asset for researchers, doctors, and for patients…
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Big Data reveals the secret of psychedelic drugs – LeBigData.fr
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