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Ketamine and Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity, in layman’s terms, refers to the brain’s ability to change and adapt resulting from an external factor or experience. Plasticity, meaning that the brain is malleable, able to change, and form new pathways and connections which have obvious implications for learning and healing. The brain possesses the ability to create new connections, reorganize neural pathways, and create new nerve cells.

There are many benefits of brain neuroplasticity including:

  • Increase ability to learn new things
  • Increase cognitive abilities and memory
  • Recovery from traumatic brain injuries and stressful conditions ,such as depression and PTSD
  • Improve brain functions which were damaged or lost

Ketamine has been shown to promote neuroplasticity, which is primarily derived from ketamine’s involvement in BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). Ketamine blocks the activity of the glutamate neurotransmitter on the n-methyl d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor which leads to an increase in BDNF. BDNF has been shown to promote growth and maintenance of brain neurons and allows for neuroplasticity. The ketamine infusion protocol typically involves a series of six ketamine infusions over the course of a month to alleviate the symptoms depression and other mood disorders.

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