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Drug Relieves Major Depression in Hours Instead of Weeks, Yale University Study Reveals



10/5/2012 7:37:08 AM

Many chronically depressed and treatment-resistant patients experience immediate relief from symptoms after taking small amounts of the drug ketamine. For a decade, scientists have been trying to explain the observation first made at Yale University. Today, current evidence suggests that the pediatric anesthetic helps regenerate synaptic connections between brain cells damaged by stress and depression, according to a review of scientific research written by Yale School of Medicine researchers and published in the Oct. 5 issue of the journal Science. Ketamine works on an entirely different type of neurotransmitter system than current antidepressants, which can take months to improve symptoms of depression and do not work at all for one out of every three patients. Understanding how ketamine works in the brain could lead to the development of an entirely new class of antidepressants, offering relief for tens of millions of people suffering from chronic depression.

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