Research Shows Ketamine Helps Major Depressive Disorder Patients Adjust How They Perceive Reality

January 13, 2021 14:30:13

New research indicates that brain signals that are linked to neural plasticity may be used to explain the quick antidepressant effects that ketamine possesses. The research findings, which were reported in the “European Neuropsychopharmacology” journal, show that ketamine may help reduce depression by overriding an individual’s insensitivity to prediction error.

Lead researcher Rachael Sumner explained that ketamine had the potential to not only treat but also help researchers understand depression better. This is mainly because ketamine works differently when compared to ordinary antidepressants.

Sumner, who is a School of Pharmacy postdoctoral research fellow from the University of Auckland, explained that ketamine increased neural plasticity, which is the ability of the brain to create new connections between neurons, a principal part of the brain’s memory and learning.

Sumner stated that studies using rodents had demonstrated how ketamine increased neural plasticity in 24 hours. However, some challenges were encountered when researchers tried to translate the reactions in rodents in a bid to find out whether they occurred in people as well. To help eliminate these challenges in the brain’s plasticity, the researchers examined auditory processes and other sensory processing mechanisms.

The placebo-controlled, double-blind study involved 30 participants diagnosed with major depressive disorder who hadn’t responded to current treatments used to treat depression. Seven in 10 participants showed a 50% or more decrease in their symptoms of depression within a day after ketamine had been administered.

Sumner stated that the researchers used an auditory mismatch negativity task to evaluate the brain’s tendency and adaptability to attempt to forecast what would happen next.

As the participants heard a series of auditory tones that sometimes included an unanticipated noise, the researchers measured brain activity using electroencephalogram technology. When the brain hears an unexpected noise, it generates a specific pattern of electrical brain activity, commonly referred to as mismatch negativity.

The researchers discovered that ketamine grew the mismatch negativity amplitude three hours after the ketamine infusion had been administered. They observed that the brains of the participants who’d been diagnosed with severe to moderate depression grew more sensitive to how they perceived reality.

The study participants also completed a visual task that measured long-term potentiation. This is the neurons’ ability to grow communication efficiency with other neurons. The researchers analyzed the data and discovered that ketamine’s antidepressant effects were linked to increased long-term potentiation. Sumner observed that doing more research on these findings may reveal more evidence that supports the use of ketamine in enhancing an individual’s ability to take part in and benefit from various therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) is set to benefit from the resurgent interest in psychedelics such as ketamine. The company plans to undertake a clinical trial to evaluate its novel psilocybin medicine delivery system.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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