Images of the brain's fastest signals reveal an electromagnetic marker that predicts a patient's response to a fast-acting antidepressant, researchers have discovered.
"Such biomarkers that identify who will benefit from a new class of antidepressants could someday minimize trial-and-error prescribing and speed delivery of care for what can be a life-threatening illness," said Carlos Zarate, M.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program.
In the new study at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, depressed patients showed increasing activity in a mood-regulating hub near the front of the brain while viewing flashing frightful faces – the more the increase, the better their response to an experimental fast-acting medication called ketamine. By contrast, healthy controls showed decreasing activity in this brain area under the same conditions.
Ketamine is also known on the street as "Crytal Meth" or "Special K."