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  • Neural PRP - What Happened When I Injected My Blood Back Into My Brain

Neural PRP - What Happened When I Injected My Blood Back Into My Brain

The Words You Use to Describe Your Life Have Real Impact

Author just after receiving the Neural PRP procedure - photo by Neeraj Jain

I received an out of the blue email from a colleague a few months ago, asking me if I’d like to hear about a new medical treatment he was developing. My first reaction was ‘Oh no, not another psychedelic play’, but this time it was indeed something different and novel.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) has been around for a generation and is commonly used to treat sports injuries. You take a blood draw, spin it in a centrifuge, extract the growth-factor enriched plasma and inject it into the site of an injury to speed up tissue regeneration and healing.

The new project involved figuring out a way to do this in the brain to treat neurological disorders. Think Parkinsons, Alzheimers, Multiple Sclerosis. If successful, it will be a tremendous leap forward for a population with precious few options.

The reason he was contacting me in particular was to see if I’d be interested in the treatment. Not because I’m suffering from any such disorder, but because as a writer and prolific user of psychedelics, he was interested in my articulation of how the results ‘felt’ in comparison to other altered states.

I won’t go into the details as it’s not my procedure, but of course anything that sounds like a needle into the brain is going to get a quick NO from me.

He assured me that wasn’t how it worked, and after he explained the actual procedure to a trusted medical colleague, I felt assured it was completely safe. No idea what the outcome would be, but it was safe. So I said yes, and scheduled an appointment for a few weeks later.

The procedure was pretty uneventful in itself, and I had a friend drive me home, just in case, although I felt completely normal. It was noon and I was told to expect results in about six hours.

I went home, took a nap, had dinner, and… nothing.

Some people experience enhanced clarity in their thinking. Some notice an immediate improvement in symptoms. I had a shadow of sensation that something was going on in the periphery of my senses, but nothing concrete. It was like taking a sub-perceptual dose of psilocybin — I knew something was happening, but couldn’t give you any details.

I did some writing, watched TV, and went to sleep, hoping to be super intelligent or have telepathic powers in the morning.

The next morning I went to a yoga class at 8am and told my instructor about the procedure. I added that I felt a sense of calm, but it wasn’t quite the pill from the Limitless movie.

Then for some reason I added, “I kind of feel dead inside.”

She asked me to clarify, “Well, which is it? Are you calm, or dead inside? The words you choose are important.”

I realized in that moment that I could choose the path I was on regarding the PRP experiment. Bemoan it as a failure by using negative language, or use positive language to position it as a learning exercise. The words you choose are important.

During the yoga session we continued to discuss words, and she asked me to distinguish between sensations, discomfort, and pain. Pain is a warning, but after some consideration I came to the conclusion that discomfort was related to mental interpretation, not a particular type of sensation. The power of words is the power to decide how to perceive the world around us.

Over the following days I began to wonder if my calmness was indeed the experience of clarity that others had experienced. I’m a pretty calm person anyway, so maybe for someone whose life is more hectic, this calm would feel like clarity.

I was expecting a psychedelic level of reaction to the neural PRP and didn’t get it. But there were definitely effects. I’ve had a little trouble sleeping, but that faded after 3 days. My reaction to mild doses of psychedelics is itself enhanced, to about 2x what I’d expect for a given dose. I’ve won more games of NHL 24 on my PS5 than usual. I’ve written more easily than usual as well — Both could be a result of better ability to learn or to focus. It makes sense that any neural growth I’ve experienced as a result of the treatment would take much longer than a few days to manifest in any substantial way.

Overall I’d call it a solid learning experience with massive potential long term benefit in reducing my risk of future neurological conditions. The treatment has already been shown to be beneficial to varying degrees for people with neurological disorder symptoms, but widespread availability is still years away.

I’ve had many people wonder what the heck I was thinking undergoing such a procedure when I don’t have any particular symptoms to address. I can only answer that I was drawn to it, as I have been to psychedelics, and anything else that helps me see the world through a different lens.

I may not have developed telepathic powers, but I still know what you’re thinking. ‘Sanjay, you’re a fool for trying something so risky just to be able to pass on a little knowledge.’

You’re welcome.

Thanks for reading!

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