Ketamine Makes a Good Anti-Depressant

At first blush, you want to chuck this in the "no-kidding-that's-why-it's-abused" department. But the horse tranquilizer and hallucinogenic pleasure drug ketamine may have found a clinical home next to Prozac. A serious study by people smarter than most of us suggests ketamine ("Special K" to friends and close acquaintances) restores normal activity in an area of the brain that's usually in overdrive in people with diagnosed clinical depression.

Led by neuroscientist Bill Deakin of the University of Manchester in the UK, researchers gave 33 healthy men ketamine intravenously and monitored its effects in brain scans once per minute. Activity in the orbitfrontal cortex, which is thought to be responsible for feelings of dread and anxiety, quickly shut down.

As the researchers say, this opens the doors for much better trips — I mean moods, much better MOODS — for people suffering from depression who don't respond to other drugs, like Prozac. It also works within 24 hours, whereas 'zac can take a month.

Source: Reuters

Image: Technology Review