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#714: The New Frontiers of Mental Health — Dr. Nolan Williams on Brain Stimulation, Ibogaine, Rapid-Acting Tools for Depression, Enhancing Sports Performance, and More

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Podcast by Tim Ferriss: Bestselling Author, Human Guinea Pig

Brought to you by Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega fish oil, Eight Sleep’s Pod Cover sleeping solution for dynamic cooling and heating, and AG1 all-in-one nutritional supplement.

Welcome to a very special episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, an episode that might be an example of peeking around corners and catching a glimpse of the future of mental health treatments in the next five to ten years.

My guest is Nolan Williams, MD (@NolanRyWilliams). Nolan is an associate professor within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine and director of the Stanford Brain Stimulation Lab. He has a broad background in clinical neuroscience and is triple board certified in general neurology, general psychiatry, and behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry. Themes of his work include examining spaced learning theory and neurostimulation techniques, development and mechanistic understanding of rapid-acting antidepressants, and identifying objective biomarkers that predict neuromodulation responses in treatment-resistant neuropsychiatric conditions.

Nolan specializes in looking at cutting-edge treatments and new technologies that can be applied to treatment-resistant psychiatric disorders—so, treatment-resistant depression, disorders that are notoriously difficult to address, such as OCD, and many others.

Nolan’s work resulted in an FDA clearance for the world’s first noninvasive, rapid-acting neuromodulation approach for treatment-resistant depression. And I’ve tested this myself, and we get into this in the conversation. He has published papers in Brain, American Journal of Psychiatry, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Results from his studies have gained attention in Science and NEJM Journal Watch. He has received two NARSAD Young Investigator Awards, the Gerald L. Klerman Award, and the National Institute of Mental Health Biobehavioral Research Award for Innovative New Scientists.

We also discuss things like ibogaine that are seemingly unrelated to neuromodulation, as Nolan is very well-versed in multiple disciplines and in multiple toolkits, both pharmacological and non-invasive neuromodulatory. It’s this combination, actually, this rare Venn diagram, that makes him incredibly interesting to me. I really enjoyed this conversation. I think it is very important, highly tactical, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


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