default mode network

How Do Ketamine Infusions Help Fibromyalgia?

How Do Ketamine Infusions Help Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a leading cause of chronic pain affecting millions of Americans every day. Researchers hypothesize that central sensitization is the primary mechanism involved, but there are many other factors including genetics, immunological, psychological, and hormones that influence the development of fibromyalgia. Central sentization refers to a process called “wind-up” where the central nervous system gets regulated into a persistent state of high reactivity.  This persistent or wound up state of reactivity lowers the threshold for what causes pain and can create extreme pain even with minimal stimulus.  This phenomena is believed to be related to neuroplasticity which is mediated by the N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors located in the spinal cord.

So how exactly do ketamine infusions help in fibromyalgia?

Ketamine’s most immediate mechanism of action is to block NMDA receptors.  It is the most potent clinically available NMDA receptor antagonist today.  By blocking the activity of the NMDA receptor, ketamine seems to reset the altered pain receptors that have become hypersensitized in patients with fibromyalgia.  

Ketamine Infusions for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Ketamine Infusions for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic condition affecting 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children in the United States.  This disorder is characterized by intrusive, repetitive thoughts and behaviors. Interfering with work, interpersonal relationships, and in general, patients’ enjoyment of life, OCD can have a devastating effect due to its debilitating nature. The only FDA approved treatment for OCD are serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), but the effects of these are limited. Meaningful improvement can take up to 6 to 10 weeks and symptom relief is limited. To find a better way to treat this disorder, researchers at Columbia University conducted a study involving ketamine infusions.

3 Reasons Why You Should Know About the Default Mode Network of Your Brain

3 Reasons Why You Should Know About the Default Mode Network of Your Brain

The Default Mode Network (sometimes called simply the default network or the DMN) refers to an interconnected group of brain structures that are hypothesized to be part of a functional system. The DMN includes areas of the brain which researchers found to have higher activity when the mind was supposed to be at rest.  For example, when you are day dreaming, thinking about the future, replaying memories, etc. without a specific goal in mind.  Now, why would we care about this? The DMN is found to have increased activity in certain mood and pain disorders.  That being said, let's look at our 3 reasons why you should know about the DMN.