"There was a rhythm that appeared and it was an oscillation that appeared only when the patient was dissociating," says Dr. Karl Deisseroth, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Stanford University. Dissociation is a brain state in which a person feels separated from their own thoughts, feelings and body. It is common in people with some mental illnesses, or who have experienced a traumatic event. It can also be induced by certain drugs, including ketamine and PCP (angel dust). Deisseroth's lab made the discovery while studying the brains of mice that had been given ketamine or other drugs that cause dissociation. The team was using technology that allowed them to monitor the activity of cells throughout the brain.
Stanford scientists identified brain circuitry that plays a role in the mysterious experience called dissociation, in which people can feel disconnected from their bodies and reality.