Psychoplastogens- Ketamine and a New Class of Substances

June 16, 2021 by Steve Suntala
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What is a Psychoplastogen?

In a recently published scientific article the team around Olsen et. al coined the term “psychoplastogens”. These are substances with the capacity to promote structural and functional plasticity in the prefrontal cortex area of the brain. Ketamine, as well the serotonergic psychedelics, are considered to be prime examples. Research has shown that they facilitate neuritogenesis in vivo (observed processes in living organisms) and in vitro (conducted with nerve cells outside of living organisms).(https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30087-6)

How Can Psychoplastogens Like Ketamine Help with Mental Health?

Olsen et al. argue that one of the major reasons for depression and related psychological illnesses is the atrophy of neurons in the prefrontal cortex caused and aggravated by stress. This atrophy could be counteracted by the utilization of compounds that grow and repair neurons. Instead of the slow degradation of neural circuits from the crippling grip of depression, PTSD or anxiety, Ketamine offers healing and renewal. Up to this day the scientific community has not come to a clear agreement why substances like ketamine (DOI: 10.1111/nyas.12646) or psilocybin  are so successful in the treatment of depression. Ketamine especially is fast-acting and provides a long antidepressive effect. This efficacy could be explained by the fact that it triggers the formation and regeneration of damaged synaptic connections in the prefrontal cortex.

Ketamine is a Proven Psychoplastogen!

Olsen showcased in a different published paper called “Psychoplastogens: A Promising Class of Plasticity-Promoting Neurotherapeutics” the effect of ketamine. With the help of a fluorescence microscope, cortical neurons treated with ketamine were pictured and compared with vehicle-treated neurons (a non-effective compound). Displaying that ketamine significantly increased the dendritic branching. Continuing scientific research is focused on these fascinating findings and only future experiments will show what the potential of these incredible compounds is. We are excited to build upon this established knowledge and to provide Ketamine for your own healing and regrowth.

 

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Our mission at New Pathways Clinic is to create a holistic mental wellness campus for the greater Cleveland region, combining cutting-edge treatments like Ketamine infusions and Spravato with health professionals specialized in providing accompanying therapy and lifestyle education. We strive to grow and adapt as the scientific body of research continues to expand and diversify for innovative mental health treatments that will lead Cleveland into a healthier future.