Studies indicate that ketamine works in 60-70% of patients—even those who did not receive relief from more traditional first-line depression treatments, such as traditional antidepressant medications or talk-therapy. Study after study shows that ketamine works rapidly and dramatically to relieve the symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. It is clear that ketamine’s unique effect on the glutamate system offers a rare opportunity to combat the symptoms of depression from a new front.

Last month, the laboratories of Hensch and Michela Fagiolini, PhD at the Neurobiology Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, pinpointed ketamine’s mechanism of action. What they actually discovered, unexpectedly, was that “it’s efficacy in females varies with their menstrual cycle.” This means that the successful treatment of depression in female patients actually needs to be timed according to the their body.

In one study at the Neurobiology Center, which compared the effects of ketamine on the brains of mice, the researchers were surprised to find that female mice responded less consistently to ketamine than the males. According to Hensch, ketamine would irregularly boost brain activity. Two researchers, Picard and Takesian, found that ketamine had little effect on the female mice during their follicular phases—which starts on the first day of menstruation and ends with ovulation. This was because of a reduction in the prevalence of certain receptors in the brain, specifically the 2A subunit, found in the glutamate receptors, which ketamine is known to interact with. These findings may have opened the door to a major discovery…

In a follow-up study, also conducted by Hensch and Fagiolini, they analyzed the effects of deleting specific receptors—specifically the 2A subunit—in the brains of mice with Rett syndrome. Rett syndrome is a neurological disorder affecting almost all areas of a patient’s life, including their ability to speak and walk. Rett syndrome occurs almost exclusively in girls. Researchers discovered that, when the 2A subunit was deleted, the mice experienced reduced disease severity. Then, studying the effects of daily low-doses of ketamine, the drug was shown to actually restore normal brain circuitry and extend the animals’ life span. This fantastic discovery initiated a multicenter clinical trial at Boston Children’s Hospital—as well as at six other ketamine clinics—for girls aged 6-12 suffering from Rett syndrome.

Stay tuned to our blog for updates on this and the many other studies being performed about the use of ketamine in treating depression and beyond…

Contact Elev8 MD Wellness Center

Elev8 MD Wellness Center offers a wide variety of treatments for those suffering from depression or anxiety. Our treatment options range from psychotherapy and ketamine infusions to reiki, acupuncture, massage and IV hydration therapy. Contact our Charlotte, NC wellness center today and let us know how we can meet your health and wellness needs.