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How ketamine can change the brain to fight depression

April 24, 2019 / Maria Cohut

New research in mice, which the National Institutes of Health supported, shows how ketamine can alter brain circuits, quickly redressing depression-like symptoms. Previous studies have shown that ketamine — an anesthetic — can rapidly reduce severe symptoms of major depressive disorder, particularly the occurrence of suicidal thoughts. However, researchers are still unsure how this substance acts in the brain to fight off depression or how to maintain its therapeutic effects in the long run. For this reason, a team of investigators from the University of Tokyo in Japan, Stanford University in California, and Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, NY, recently set out to understand more about how ketamine fights depression in the brain by studying its effect in mouse models.