Ketamine back in the news

Ketamine, a Schedule III substance, is considered a 'street drug' by lawmakers and law enforcement and is considered far more dangerous when self-administered than Schedule I cannabis has been shown to be. Maia Szalavitz reports in MSN Health & Fitness:
"We were shocked and surprised that it worked," says Gary Wenk, Ph.D., one of the study's authors and a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Ohio State University. Research shows that the neurotransmitter glutamate is involved in storing memory in a process that involves growing both new cells and connections between them, and destroying old ones. Some current Alzheimer's drugs like memantine affect glutamate—as does THC. Early in life, this process is in balance, and so interfering with either the growth or the "pruning back" of brain cells and connections—as might occur from using marijuana—might impair memory. But, says Wenk, "The same systems involved in pruning neurons at the beginning of life could be killing them at the end." Therefore, interfering with the pruning process later in life might actually help, rather than harm.
A piece on Seattle's KPLU the other day brought glutamic acid closer to home as mushrooms are sources of glutamate. The smell of sex, especially in Hypomyces lactifluorum, has been a fascination.

One morning's broadcast on ketamine harkened the Robert Krulwich piece, a contraindication of treating the glutamate sites in the brain is unusual sexual behavior.
Ketamine, in contrast, activates a different chemical system in the brain – the glutamate system. Researcher Ron Duman at Yale thinks ketamine rapidly increases the communication among existing neurons by creating new connections.
A patient in a previous NPR piece had tried scores of compounds created by Big Pharma and was still trying to end his life.


Mental illnesses linked to depression are deadly and exploring every drug to manage that pain is a legitimate role of government.

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