I’m sure we all regularly pray for the Lord’s blessing on medical research in the hope that various cures or comforts can be found for various diseases and disorders. I therefore thought you’d be interested in this interview with Dr Carlos Zarate who is at the forefront of medical research into new anti-depressant medications, especially the use of rapid acting ketamine and other related drugs. Some of the highlights:
- In 2016, more than one in twenty American adults and one in ten adolescents experienced at least one major depressive episode.
- For nearly 45,000 of these individuals, their condition was severe enough that it led them to take their own lives.
- Unfortunately, the medications currently available to treat depression are not always effective and can take up to six weeks to substantially reduce symptoms.
- Severe, treatment-resistant or chronic depression is not simply the result of disturbances of serotonin and norepinephrine systems but involves alterations in the resiliency and neuroplasticity of synapses and circuits. So future treatments will also need to enhance the plasticity of synapses and circuits.
- Objective tests for depression are coming closer to public availability, including the identification of biomarkers using blood work and brain imaging.
- Although up until recently, anti-depressants have largely focused on serotonin, the drugs presently in clinical studies are targeting other neurotransmitter systems which can also be involved in depression and therefore offer hope for depression that has been resistant to current drugs.
- The ineffectiveness of some anti-depressants could be more to do with patients missing doses and being inconsistent in their administration.
- The new class of antidepressants being developed are effective in hours rather than weeks.
Let’s keep praying for Dr. Zarate and all medical researchers as they labor daily for breakthroughs in providing relief for suffering people.