What's the buzz

What's the buzz

How party drug relieves depression

For a decade, scientists have been trying to explain how many chronically depressed and treatment-resistant patients experience immediate relief from symptoms after taking small amounts of the drug ketamine.

The ability of the drug was first observed at Yale University.

Now, a review of scientific research written by Yale School of Medicine researchers has provided evidence suggesting that the pediatric anesthetic helps regenerate synaptic connections between brain cells damaged by stress and depression.

Ketamine works on an entirely different type of neurotransmitter system than current antidepressants, which can take months to improve symptoms of depression and do not work at all for one out of every three patients.

Understanding how ketamine works in the brain could lead to the development of an entirely new class of antidepressants, offering relief for tens of millions of people suffering from chronic depression.

“The rapid therapeutic response of ketamine in treatment-resistant patients is the biggest breakthrough in depression research in a half century,” said a researcher.

Humanized mice may discover medicines for arthritis

By developing the first animal model that duplicates the human response in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have made a breakthrough in their search for better therapies to combat the disease.

This is the first time human stem cells have been transplanted into mice in order to find RA treatments, said corresponding and senior author Harris Perlman, associate professor of rheumatology at Feinberg.

“We believe this will improve drug discovery because the reactions we observed were authentic human reactions,” he stated.

Until now, scientists have relied on the common scientific method of using specially bred mice to find drugs to control RA. However, human and mouse immune systems differ dramatically, so studying RA in these mice does not give an accurate representation of how the disease functions in humans.

Difficulty in chewing food linked to dementia risk

Your chewing ability can determine your mental abilities, according to new research from Karolinska Institutet. The older people become the more likely it is that they risk deterioration of cognitive functions, such as memory, decision-making and problem solving.

Research indicates several possible contributors to these changes, with several studies demonstrating an association between not having teeth and loss of cognitive function and a higher risk of dementia.

One reason for this could be that few or no teeth makes chewing difficult, which leads to a reduction in the blood flow to the brain. However, to date there has been no direct investigation into the significance of chewing ability in a national representative sample of elderly people.

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