Antidepressant response within hours? Experts weigh evidence on ketamine as fast-acting treatment for depression

Recent studies suggest that ketamine, a widely used anesthetic agent, could offer a wholly new approach to treating severe depression — producing an antidepressant response in hours rather than weeks. Two reviews of recent evidence on ketamine and related drugs for treating depression appear in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry, published by Wolters Kluwer.

Ketamine and related drugs may represent a “paradigm shift” in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar depression — especially in patients who do not respond to other treatments, according to a review by Carlos A. Zarate, Jr, MD and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health. A second article explores evidence on the mechanisms behind ketamine’s rapid antidepressant effects.

 

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Twice weekly yoga classes plus home practice effective in reducing symptoms of depression

People who suffer from depression should participate in yoga and deep (coherent) breathing classes at least twice weekly plus practice at home to receive a significant reduction in their symptoms.

The findings, which appear in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, provide preliminary support for the use of yoga-based interventions as an alternative or supplement to pharmacologic treatments for depression.

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is common, recurrent, chronic and disabling. Due in part to its prevalence, depression is globally responsible for more years lost to disability than any other disease. Up to 40 percent of individuals treated with antidepressant medications for MDD do not achieve full remission. This study used lyengar yoga that has an emphasis on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture and breath control.

Full story of yoga classes effective in reducing symptoms of depression at Science Daily

Is depression in parents, grandparents linked to grandchildren’s depression?

Having both parents and grandparents with major depressive disorder (MDD) was associated with higher risk of MDD for grandchildren, which could help identify those who may benefit from early intervention, according to a study published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

It is well known that having depressed parents increases children’s risk of psychiatric disorders. There are no published studies of depression examining three generations with grandchildren in the age of risk for depression and with direct interviews of all family members.

Myrna M. Weissman, Ph.D., of Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, studied 251 grandchildren (average age 18) interviewed an average of two times and their biological parents, who were interviewed an average of nearly five times, and grandparents interviewed up to 30 years.

Full story of family depression passed down in generations at Science Daily

Fertility patients’ history is best predictor of risk for major depression

A potent risk factor for developing major depressive disorder (MDD) during fertility treatment is something health providers are likely not even looking for, according to new research from San Francisco State University.

Fertility treatment patients and their partners are far more likely to experience MDD than the general population, the study found, and a key factor in predicting a patient’s risk is whether he or she has a previous diagnosis of major depression. But past history is something that fertility treatment providers may not routinely screen for, said Sarah Holley, an assistant professor of psychology at SF State and lead author of the study.

Full story of fertility patients and depression at Science Daily