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Not much is known from an ethnohistorical perspective about the use of psychoactive substances in southern Central America; it is mainly through the archeological record that their presence in the past has been inferred. This article reviews evidence for the use of mind-altering plants and mushrooms in the societies that inhabited the current Costa Rican territory during pre-Columbian times, and explores the cultural significance of this activity. Historical, ethnographic, archeological, and paleobotanical information was examined and integrated with the data obtained from the analysis of 46 artifacts with a presumed linkage to psychoactive drug use that were selected from an exhaustive search in the collections of the Museums of the Central Bank of Costa Rica and the National Museum of Costa Rica. Preliminary results suggest the consumption of tobacco (Nicotiana spp. L.), morning glory (Ipomoea spp. L.), cohoba [Anadenanthera peregrina (L.) Speg.], psychedelic fungi [Amanita muscaria (L.) Lam. and Psilocybe (Fr.) P. Kumm. species], as well as various alcoholic and invigorating beverages was present in ancient times. This use was likely connected to shamanistic healing practices, social–ceremonial events, and the ritual activities of people who held positions of religious and political importance within society.

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Sleep deprivation affects the homeostasis of the physiological functions in the human organism. Beer is the only beverage that contains hops, a plant which has a sedative effect. Our objective is to determine the improvement of subjective sleep quality using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). The sample was conducted among a population of 30 university students. The study took place during a period of 3 weeks, the first 7 days were used for the Control, and during the following 14 days the students ingested beer (were asked to drink non-alcoholic beer) while having dinner. The results revealed that Subjective Sleep Quality improved in the case of those students who drank one beer during dinner compared to the Control, this is corroborated by the fact that Sleep Latency decreased (p < 0.05) compared to their Control. The overall rating Global Score of Quality of Sleep also improved significantly (p < 0.05). These results confirm that the consumption of non-alcoholic beer at dinner time helps to improve the quality of sleep at night.

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Acta Physiologica Hungarica
Authors:
A. Lemberg
,
M. Fernández
,
G. Ouviña
,
R. Rodríguez
,
H. Peredo
,
C. Susemihl
,
I. Villarreal
, and
E. Filinger

The hypothesis of the present study was that diabetes mellitus might affect brain metabolism. Streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats, treated with vanadyl sulphate (V) and sodium tungstate (T) were employed to observe the aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and creatine kinase (CK) activities in brain homogenates. Significant increases in AST, ALT and CK activities were found in diabetic brain homogenates against controls, suggesting increments of transamination in brain and/or increases in cell membrane permeability to these enzymes. The increase in brain CK possibly expresses alterations in energy production. The decrease in CK activity caused by V and T treatment in diabetic rats suggests that both agents tend to normalize energy consumption. It is also possible that V and T-induced hypoglycemic effects cause metabolic alterations in brain.

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Acta Physiologica Hungarica
Authors:
Cristina Sánchez López
,
C. Barriga
,
A. Rodríguez
,
L. Franco
,
M. Rivero
, and
J. Cubero

We describe a chronobiological study of the effects of the oral administration of the essential amino acid L-methionine to common quail ( Coturnix coturnix ). This amino acid is a precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is responsible for controlling and maintaining wakefulness through the ventrolateral pre-optic area of the hypothalamus and controlling the REM sleep in the nucleus reticularis pontinus oralis (NRPO). The quail model was chosen as these birds are monophasic and active by day, as are humans. The animals were kept under a constant 12h:12h light/dark cycle, fed ad libitum and housed in separate cages equipped for activity recording. Methionine was administered daily (1 h before lights off) for 1 week (chronic treatment), with the birds divided into 4 groups: a capsule with 15 mg of L-methionine (Met15 treatment group); a capsule with 30 mg of L-methionine (Met30 treatment group); a capsule with methylcellulose as excipient (control group); no capsule (basal group). In addition, we compared the first day of treatment (acute experiment) with the basal and control results. Actimetry (DAS24©) was used to quantify the activity data, and the sleep/wake rhythm was analyzed using the Ritme© software package. The statistical analysis of the activity data was descriptive (± SD) and inferential (Tukey test). The data showed increased (p<0.05) mean diurnal activity pulses in the Met30 group versus the other groups in both the acute and the chronic experiments. No changes were found in nocturnal activity. The chronobiological analysis showed a significant increase in the MESOR parameter of the Met30 group in both chronic and acute experiments versus the other groups. The acrophase showed no significant changes, in all groups being at around 13:45 h. In conclusion, the oral administration of L-methionine increased diurnal activity; probably due to the stimulating neuromodulatory action of acetylcholine.

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The hop (Humulus lupulus), a component of beer, is a sedative plant whose pharmacological activity is due principally to its bitter resins, especially to the α-acid component 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol. The mechanism of action of the resin of hop consists of increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric (GABA), inhibiting the central nervous system (CNS). Objectives: To analyze in an experimental model of diurnal animal the sedative effect of hop, a component of beer, on the activity/rest rhythm. Methods: Experiments were performed with common quail (Coturnix coturnix) similar to humans in the sleep-wake rhythm, isolated in 25 × 25 × 25 cm methacrylate cages, with food and water ad libitum, in a room with artificial ventilation (22 ± 1 °C) and a lighting cycle of 12L/12D (n = 5). The doses administered, close to the content of non-alcoholic beer, were 1, 2 and 11 mg extract of hop as one capsule per day, at 18:00 h for one week. A control group received capsules only with a methylcellulose excipient and a basal group received no treatment. The chronobiological analysis of the animals’ activity captured and logged by the software DAS24 was performed using the Ritme computer program (cosinor methods). Results: With the dose of 2 mg, there was a statistically significant (p < 0.05) reduction of the arithmetic mean nocturnal activity (23 ± 3.0) with respect to the basal (38.56 ± 2.79), control (38.1 ± 2.8) and other doses groups 1 mg (52.04 ± 3.65) and 11 mg (47.47 ± 5.88). This dose of 2 mg, similar to the concentration in beer, was more effective in reducing nocturnal activity than the other doses of 1 and 11 mg, as well as preserving the circadian activity/rest rhythm. Conclusion: The concentration of 2 mg of hop extract effectively decreased nocturnal activity in the circadian activity rhythm. On the basis of this investigation, administration of non-alcoholic beer would be recommended due to its hop content and consequent sedative action, which would be an aid to nocturnal sleep.

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Journal of Psychedelic Studies
Authors:
Abraham Hafiz Rodriguez
,
Sarah Nath Zallek
,
Michael Xu
,
Jean Aldag
,
Lori Russell-Chapin
,
Tobias A. Mattei
, and
N. Scott Litofsky

Abstract

Background

Music has been associated with therapeutic properties for thousands of years across a vast number of diverse regions and cultures. This study expands upon our current understanding of music’s influence on human neurophysiology by investigating the effects of various music genres on cerebral cortex activity using electroencephalography (EEG).

Methods

A randomized, controlled study design was used. EEG data were recorded from 23 healthy adults, ages 19–28, while listening to a music sequence consisting of five randomized songs and two controls. The five studied music genres include: Classical, Tribal Downtempo, Psychedelic Trance (Psytrance), Goa Trance, and Subject Choice.

Results

Controls were associated with lower percentages of beta frequencies and higher percentages of alpha frequencies than the music genres. Psytrance was associated with higher percentages of theta and delta frequencies than the other music genres and controls. The lowest percentages of beta frequencies and highest percentages of alpha frequencies occurred in the occipital and parietal regions. The highest percentages of theta and delta frequencies occurred in the frontal and temporal regions. Subjects with prior music training exhibited increased percentages of delta frequencies in the frontal region. Subject gender and music preference did not have a significant influence on frequency band percentages.

Conclusions

Findings from this study support those of previous music therapy studies and provide novel insights regarding music’s influence on human neurophysiology. These findings also support the hypothesis that music may promote changes in cerebral cortex activity that have similarities to non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, while the listener remains awake.

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