Ketamine is an anesthetic. It may also be effective for treating depression. There was a study done on mice that showed that ketamine may be effective for treating depression. The study showed that ketamine helped improve the functioning of the brain circuits that controlled mood.
In March 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved Spravato, which is a nasal spray that has ketamine in it. Ketamine has been used to treat millions of people who had depression. However, scientists do not know exactly how it works.
Anna Beyeler is a neuroscientist who works for INSERM. This is a French version of the National Institutes of Health. She called the results of the study a breakthrough. However, it still leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
Dr. Conor, who works at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, stated that the study has limitations. He stated that the study was done on mice, and they most likely do not have depression. However, Dr. Conor and his team gave the mice a stress hormone that caused depression.
They found that the mice lost interest in doing their favorite things such as exploring the maze and eating sugar after they were given the stress hormone. The team then used a laser to analyze the brains of the mice. They found that stress affects certain synapses in the brain.
After that, they gave the mice a dose of ketamine. They found that the ketamine restored the synapses that were affected by the stress hormone. The researchers concluded that ketamine worked by repairing brain circuits.
It is important to note that ketamine has a short-term effect. The effects can last for a week or more. If the synapses are not maintained, then a person will develop depression again. Scientists are now exploring ways that the effects of ketamine can be maintained.