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Ketamine may help with overeating tied to depression

With mice, the drug reversed depressive symptoms ascribed to a months-long high-fat diet, researchers at Yale found in a new study.

By
Stephen Feller
Ketamine has been shown in several recent studies to help with some depression patients, including in two studies this year from Yale University. Photo by Ollyy/Shutterstock
Ketamine has been shown in several recent studies to help with some depression patients, including in two studies this year from Yale University. Photo by Ollyy/Shutterstock

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Recent studies have shown ketamine may be effective for treating symptoms of depression. A new study at Yale University shows the drug helped with chronic overeating tied to depression and chronic stress.

Several recent studies have suggested ketamine could help depression patients where antidepressant drugs failed to help, including previous research at Yale.

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The new study, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, looked specifically at the link between overeating and depression, and whether the drug could ease what is alternately seen as a symptom or cause of the condition.

The researchers chose to work with overeating because, in addition to its ties to depression, ketamine activates the mTORC pathway, which regulates proteins involved with synaptic connections that can be damaged by stress and depression. The pathway also is involved with energy and metabolism, linking it to metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes -- which is tied to higher risk of depression in patients.

After feeding mice a high-fat diet for four months, the researchers found the rodents displayed symptoms of depression -- which were reversed quickly with a low dose of ketamine.

"The effects of a high-fat diet overlap with those of chronic stress and could also be a contributing factor in depression as well as metabolic disorders such as Type 2 diabetes," Ronald Duman, a professor of psychiatry and neurobiology at Yale, said in a press release.

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