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Millisecond brain signals predict response to fast-acting antidepressant
Date:10/2/2008

imaging technology can non-invasively detect brain electromagnetic activity lasting only milliseconds the speed of communications in neural circuits whereas other functional brain imaging techniques can only capture activity that last seconds or minutes, and some involve radiation exposure.

This precise timing enabled the MEG scanner to capture the brain's split-second responses to rapidly flashing pictures of fearful faces, a task known to activate the ACC. While healthy participants' ACC activity dropped off as they quickly habituated to the faces, patients' ACC activity showed an opposite trend. The more robust this increase, the more symptoms improved just four hours after a patient received a single infusion of ketamine.

"The ACC may be slow to respond, but not completely impaired, in patients who respond to ketamine," explained Cornwell.

The lag in ACC activity could be a window into the dysfunctional workings of the glutamate-related circuitry targeted by the medication, the researchers suggest. Ketamine's side effects make it a poor candidate for becoming a practical antidepressant, but the new findings are helping to focus the search for new treatments that work through the same mechanism, they say.


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Contact: Jules Asher
NIMHpress@nih.gov
301-443-4536
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health
Source:Eurekalert  

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