Ketamine Helps Patients With Treatment-Resistant Depression Update Their Beliefs, New Study Finds

Afterward, the team found that healthy subjects were more likely to update their initial estimates– or beliefs– after receiving factual and positive information. However, the TDR population did not do the same.

So, the researchers moved on to their next segment of the study– ketamine administration. Each TDR patient received three subanesthetic doses of ketamine in one week. Then, the same probability exercise was repeated.

Just four hours after the first dose of ketamine, though, TDR patients showed a significantly greater ability to update their beliefs after being presented with positive information. The TDR patients also exhibited less sensitivity to negative information.

In turn, the researchers have linked the decrease in depressive symptoms in ketamine-treated TDR patients to these changes in belief updating.

“In other words, the more patients’ belief updating ability was increased, the greater improvement in symptoms was,” the researchers added.

This groundbreaking study is the first to identify a potential cognitive mechanism at play during the early onset of ketamine treatment. And now, this finding will pave the way for further research about the intersection of antidepressant therapies and belief updating.

To read the study’s complete findings, which have since been published in JAMA Psychiatry, visit the link here.

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