New Antidepressant Boosts Brain Connections Fast

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It has been found that a new and experimental drug has the ability to eradicate depression in mere hours. Its working are based around stimulating the connections between cells in the brain, it is called ketamine and triggers a key enzyme useful in treating depression by quickly generating new synapses.

Dr Ronald Duman who led the research team is a Yale University man. Their findings have been released and published in the journal Science. Dr Ronald has stated, ‚ÄúDiscovery of this cellular mechanism helps point the way to development of a ketamine-like agent that could become a practical, rapid-acting treatment for depression.”

With the antidepressants currently on offer not working for 40% of those who are depressed, and slow to commence working, the dramatic effects of ketamine are quite astounding. Studies have found to this point that with ketamine use in the treatment of both bipolar depression and depressive disorder, that 70% of patients who had been treatment resistant in the past showed a dramatic improvement just a day after receiving their first dose.

The drug must be administered through the veins of the patient, and there are significant side effects possible out of its use, as a result the doctors have concluded that ketamine is not a practical treatment in itself, but it has moved researchers into hunt mode for similar agents that might work by the same means as ketamine.

It was the research of these scientists which have now managed to ascertain the means by which the drug works. Whilst those drugs which are currently prescribed, work through the chemical messengers of the brain with regards to serotonin release, ketamine works through another system, the glutamate system. The Serotin drugs work by triggering events stimulating the creation of new neurons, and by this means establishing new connections (synapses) with other neurons, and thereby improving activity in the brain circuitry, this explains the delay in working.

Ketamine on the other hand offers speedy results using the glutamate system which acts more directly, in a way it works with those elements of the brain that are at the root of the problem. Whilst it was a known that ketamine does a blocking job on the binding of glutamate with receptor proteins on the membranes of the cell (NMDA receptor) the team took an approach of determining the pathway the signal takes when triggered by the blockade of the receptor.

When research was conducted with rats, the researchers found that in the rats prefrontal cortex (front of the brain) when a low level of ketamine was introduced it activated activity of the enzyme. This then went on to make proteins, which in turn went quickly on to form new connections (synapses) between neurons. Its activities are determined to be different than those of normal antidepressants or ECT treatment.

It has been found that depression and stress produce in the body the very opposite of what ketamine achieved. These mental ailments cause the synapses to shrivel. The ketamine however boosts the creation of these synapses in as little as two hours. In rats it was found that the drug reduces symptoms of depression brought about courtesy of stress in a day and the effects are ongoing for at least seven days.

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