About 40 million adults struggle with depression each year in the United States alone, making this disorder the #1 cause of disability amongst adults. 10-30% of these individuals, whose lives are disrupted by constant depressive symptoms, do not experience relief from antidepressants. Their symptoms may continue to worsen, leading to suicidal ideation, as well as more severe functional impairment and a total loss of quality of life. The cruel reality of this serious medical condition is that it negatively affects an individual’s life to the point that daily function becomes impossible. The good news, however, is that mental health disorders are finally beginning to receive the medical attention that they deserve: there are more studies being conducted than ever, focused on finding accessible and long-lasting results for those suffering from treatment-resistant depression.
One of the treatments has been around the block in the medical industry for decades is ketamine. Most recently, its anti-depressive qualities have received widespread media and medical attention. When administered intravenously, ketamine alleviates depression symptoms in up to 70% of patients, delivering positive results in as few as 1-2 infusions. Based on the immense success of ketamine for depression, several pharmaceutical companies jumped into action to develop antidepressants that mimicked the positive effects of ketamine. In March of 2019, an isomer of the ketamine molecule developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals was given the Food and Drug Administration’s stamp of approval as a depression treatment, making it the first new antidepressant to gain FDA approval in decades.
The chief idea is that ketamine acts on the neural connections (synapses) of the brain by stimulating their regrowth, essentially rewiring the brain to improve mood, memory and brain function. Those who focus on this area of study have seen these results manifest in the brains of animals. Here is where we take our focus to a new experiment, however, led by neuroscientist and psychiatrist Conor Liston at Weill Cornell Medicine.
This study involved the use of highly innovative equipment and observed stress-induced mice to see how their synapses reacted to ketamine. One of the surprising things they found is that, initially, ketamine improved behavior in a matter of hours—but only later on did the drug allow the brain to reform new, healthy neural connections.
Chronic stress depletes the neural connections in certain parts of the brain, and these mice were subjected to stress until they began to display depression-like behaviors. The researchers then used light microscopes to watch tiny structures called spines, which—if they survived more than a few days—could begin to form new and healthy synapses. Three hours after ketamine administration the mice exhibited fewer depressive behaviors, and 12-24 hours later, spine development was observed.
The next part of their study involved using blue light to cause the newly formed synapses to collapse. Once the synapses were broken down, the positive results of ketamine seemed to dwindle. This shows us that maintaining these synapses is key to long-lasting relief.
This recent study confirms the theory that ketamine really works to relieve symptoms of depression, and it opens up room for more research on how we can use therapy and other treatments to improve the durability of the new synapses that develop after ketamine is administered. For more information on the study, click here: https://www.
scientificamerican.com/ article/behind-the-buzz-how- ketamine-changes-the- depressed-patients-brain/
Contact Kismet Ketamine
As one of the leading ketamine clinics in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas of Louisiana, we pride ourselves on staying up to date on all of the current research, and cannot wait to see how further ketamine studies will improve our ability to effectively treat many mental health disorders, like depression, anxiety, PTSD and more. At Kismet Ketamine, we have personally seen how ketamine drug can change—and even save—the lives of our patients by improving their quality of their life and helping them get back to the things they love to do. Our clients enjoy the rapid-acting, highly effective, and lasting results of ketamine infusions. Please contact our office today for a free consultation and our friendly staff will answer any questions you may have and help determine whether you are a candidate for ketamine infusions. We look forward to hearing from you and being a part of your recovery.