An associate professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Mount Sinai Hospital has uncovered novel new treatments for depression and bipolar disorders based on a new understanding of the brain mechanisms that bring about the conditions. Director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at the institute Dr. Dan V Iosifescu has been specialising in treatment- resistant depression. He has uncovered means to treat the between 10 and 15% of the population who suffer from the conditions of bipolar disorder and severe depression. Between 2 and 4% of the population suffer from bipolar disorder, according to the doctor.
The term ‘treatment resistant’ has been coined for those patients who have shown no signs of improvement after a series of treatments. In looking at the potential solutions Iosifescu has looked at the patients past, the reasoning behind their suffering. He has concluded that genetics and traumatic life events are the two feature causes of both conditions. The doctor has stated that, “One very important novel treatment is ketamine, a medication currently used for anesthesia. Recent studies, including several from our group at Mount Sinai, showed that ketamine works reliably and much faster than other antidepressants, with significant improvement occurring after only a few days, even in treatment-resistant patients.”
This he believes points to the possibility of using a ‘whole new family’ of drugs for the treatment of depression. Serotonin and the increase in levels, is the main focus of other mediations, yet the use of this type of drug is based on emphasising activity on glutamate brain receptors. He finds that, whilst there are a great many medications available for the treatment of those who are suffering from depression and bipolar disorder, the drugs available are very similar in nature. They are based on the same core criteria of increasing the levels of serotonin; whilst this may work for the majority of patients the ‘treatment resistant’ patients find these medications of little use. The, ‘new family,’ of drugs is proving evidential in assisting those who have been ‘treatment resistant’ in the past.