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NIMH Radio: Dr. Ron Duman of Yale University talks about ketamine research and treatment for major depression

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Ketamine Research and Treatment for Major Depression.

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Time: 00:03:51 | Size: 3.55 MB
Speaker: Dr. Ron Dumann
Description: NIMH Radio: Dr. Ron Duman of Yale University talks about ketamine research and treatment for major depression.

Announcer: Dr. Ron Duman of Yale University is an investigator funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. He's one of a handful of researchers gaining greater understanding of how and why the experimental drug ketamine has proven to be a fast acting treatment for major depression. Duman's research centers on how necessary proteins are created that form brain connections.

Dr. Ron Duman: The studies that we've conducted have demonstrated that ketamine is able to rapidly activate a component of the neuron that's responsible for new protein synthesis and in particular synthesis of proteins that are important for new synapses and we believe it's that formation of new synapses and the connections between neurons that's important for the rapid action of ketamine.

Announcer: The absence of a drug treatment that works in hours rather than days or weeks on people at risk of suicide has motivated this kind of investigative urgency. However, ketamine, for a variety of reasons is not a practical treatment.

Dr. Ron Duman: Ketamine is best known because of its use as an anesthetic in children and animals...that's also a drug of abuse — as a street drug that's used. And while it has beneficial effects both as an anesthetic and now, has been shown for a rapid antidepressant responses — because of the abuse potential and also because there is evidence that it can cause some toxicity and damage with repeated use...it certainly would not be the perfect drug for wide spread use for the treatment of depression.

Announcer: Dr. Duman says the goal is to map what makes ketamine so effective and then search for another drug or drug component that is fast effective but free of dangerous side effects.

Dr. Ron Duman: The second thing that we and others are trying to investigate is a way to potentially sustain the rapid actions of ketamine. So, one of the other limitations of ketamine is that while it does produce a rapid response or effective anti-depressant effect that only last for seven to ten days. And if it's possible and if we can identify a way to make a sustained or to sustain that effect of ketamine that would also be extremely beneficial for clinical use.

Announcer: Research indicates ketamine's active components may also be effective in the treatment of other disorders.

Dr. Ron Duman: The study that just came out from NIMH showing that for bipolar depression ketamine is also very effective. And there are also some preliminary trials going on and that's some very exciting evidence that that could be extremely useful for suicide patients.

Announcer: Yale University's Dr. Ron Duman on NIMH Radio.