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How Ketamine Affects The Brain; Plus List Of Articles On Ketamine For Depression; 2019 Spring Series

Scientists from around the world are studying ketamine’s antidepressant effects and new research suggests that ketamine can relieve depression. Researchers already knew that ketamine can relieve depression in only a few hours and the effects can last for a week or more. What they are just now learning is that ketamine might temporarily make brain circuits function better.

In a new research study, researchers using cutting-edge technology and a whole bunch of stressed mice, revealed how ketamine changes brain circuit function and then stimulates regrowth of synapses.

See also: What Makes Ketamine Therapy for Depression so Effective?

Chronic stress depletes synapses in certain brain regions – so researchers in one study stressed out some mice for 21 days to study damage to brain circuits and tiny structures called “spines”. After administering ketamine they found the number of spines increased and brain circuit function – as well as depression-like behaviors caused by the stress – also improved.

The researchers noticed that while the improvements in behavior and circuit function occurred within three hours, the new spines didn’t show up until 12 to 24 after the treatment. And the study only looked at single dose outcomes, not the multiple doses usually seen in a course of human treatment.

See also: 10 Ketamine Infusion Questions And Answers

Researchers are excited because ketamine does seem to work differently than existing antidepressants. But they also stress that ketamine is not a “cure”. They also mention that “a course of multiple doses typically wears off within a few weeks to a month”.

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