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Trials starting soon at the University of Texas Center for Psychedelic Research and Therapy

At Dell Medical School, researchers are working to help people suffering from PTSD and depression. They hope to start trials this fall.

AUSTIN, Texas — At the University of Texas Dell Medical School, researchers are working hard at the Center for Psychedelic Research and Therapy.

The center seeks to unravel how psychedelic drugs work to help people suffering from severe depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Greg Fonzo, co-director of the center, explained how these drugs work to help people.

"[A] psychedelic is a compound that induces a powerful shift in a person's state of consciousness," he said. "Typically, that shift is characterized by certain changes in the way that we perceive things. So it could be visual changes, auditory changes, certainly change in emotion and the way that you feel."

Dr. Charles Nemeroff is the University of Texas Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences chair. He said this will help people who tried conventional treatments and didn't have success. 

"They didn't respond to any of the FDA-approved medications," he added. "Nor to any of the psychotherapists, and these people are really suffering."

They'll begin trials later this year.

"One is in patients with depression," said Nemeroff. "Another is with patients with depression who have a history of childhood maltreatment because they're the hardest patients to attain a good response. And then we have a few more studies."

They hope to change the stigma surrounding psychedelic drugs and help people who have few options left.

"There's a lot of excitement in the area," he added. "You know, in terms of the potential here."

There's a lot of work to be done, but Fonzo has high hopes for the future.

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