May 10, 2022 | Bryan Johnson
Announcement: Measuring Ketamine’s Neuro Effects with Kernel Flow
Not all my life’s experiences have created indelible memories, but wearing Flow while in a ketamine-induced altered state of consciousness was definitely one. As part of a Cybin x Kernel study, I volunteered as a pilot participant. This morning, the results were written up by Ashlee Vance in Bloomberg.
After looking over the data, the team at Kernel observed changes in the functional connectivity of various cortical brain regions that lingered for several days after ketamine administration. Kernel Flow—the world’s first highly-scalable neuro imaging system—took daily, 7 minute, snapshots of my brain’s activity patterns for about a week and a half. Five days before, during the administration of ketamine and 5 days after. As you can see in the slides below, these changes in functional connectivity are consistent with current scientific research on the effects of ketamine on brain activity (Scheidegger et al. 2012; Zacharias et al. 2019).
As Bloomberg put it: “The images produced by the Kernel helmet depicted something akin to the map of major highways with varying amounts of traffic flowing across these roads. But after about 20 minutes on ketamine, many of those pathways began to dissolve. Johnson’s brain appeared to quiet itself down and approach something of a meditative state.”
Psychedelics like ketamine, which have recently been FDA approved for limited use as therapeutics, are interesting because of their unique potential to improve mental wellness. Flow’s ease of use, portability, and the quality of its data means we can quantify this potential in a way never before possible by introducing a data-driven approach for individualized discovery and protocol design.
Our brain knows things that we don’t. Wisdom we want, need and must know.
Now we can.
Top images: Subject’s absolute functional connectivity for minutes 5-15 after they received 57.75mg intramuscular injection of ketamine. Bottom images: Subject’s relative functional connectivity changes after the ketamine took effect, starting at minutes 15-25.
Top images: Baseline measurements of Subject’s brain 5 days prior to receiving ketamine. Bottom images: Subject’s brain activity for days 7-11 after having received ketamine.
Subject’s functional connectivity was stable for days 1-5 prior to ketamine. Their brain showed large changes during the ketamine session. Post Ketamine, Subject’s functional connectivity decreases for days and then begins trending to normalize back to his baseline.