some recent ayahuasca research by neuroscientists working in South America so exciting. Though a powerful hallucinogen, ayahuasca is not illegal in Brazil, where the tea is used by urban professionals as well as by traditional and Mestizo populations, and has been integrated to some degree into national identity. As such, the state has also begun sponsoring a number of ayahuasca studies, the latest of which was published in the November 2011 issue of the journal Human Brain Mapping. A team of researchers in the city of Natal used functional MRI to track how the brains of experienced ayahuasca drinkers behaved during the extraordinary visionary displays occasioned by the brew. By asking participants to imagine internal scenes, and correlating the imaging data with visual tests and psychological measures, the team was able to trace the shifting dance between different brain regions associated with memory, projective imagination, vision, and intentional imagery, and to offer tentative explanations for the intense vividness of the visions.

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