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Ketamine, Smiling Faces Combo Hold Promise in Treating Depression

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Early research and clinical trials have revealed that psychedelics can have significant mental health benefits when paired with psychotherapy.  Researchers have found that hallucinogenic drugs such as ketamine and psilocybin can be effective against severe mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and eating disorders. Furthermore, psychedelic drugs deliver these benefits without the side effects that are often seen in pharmaceutical medications.

Given that the field of psychedelic research is largely in its infancy, researchers across the world are still studying psychedelic drugs and trying to figure out how to implement them in mental health therapies. A recently published study has found that ketamine-assisted therapy can be even more effective at treating depression when it is paired with simple computer exercises that leverage positive words and images.

A team of researchers, led by University of Pittsburgh associate professor of psychiatry and psychology Rebecca B. Price, found that simply looking at pictures of smiling faces could prolong the antidepressive effects of ketamine therapy. Price’s study involved 154 adult participants who had depression. One-third of the patients received a single dose of ketamine and came back for four consecutive days to take part in “novel digital exercises” for 30-40 minutes.

Ketamine has long been proven to be safe and effective at mitigating depression symptoms when taken intravenously under medical supervision, especially at lower doses.

According to Price, these exercises involved showing the patients “repeated pairings of self-related” images and words. These positive cues included photos of smiling faces as well as positive words such as lovable, sweet and good. Price and her team provided these digital exercises within five days of ketamine infusion as they expected the psychedelic to swiftly restore the brain’s neuroplasticity, which is the ability to learn and adjust in response to external and internal stimuli. She noted that her team developed these digital tools based on previous work that had revealed that thought patterns become more malleable and less stuck after a ketamine infusion.

While one-third of the participant group received a ketamine infusion followed by the digital exercises, the remaining two-thirds were broken into two groups. One group received a ketamine infusion followed by a placebo, neutral or a version of the digital exercise while the other group received a saline infusion and real training sessions.

After comparing data from the three groups, researchers found that the groups that received ketamine and computer training experienced significantly more relief from depressive symptoms. However, patients in the group that received another version of computer training reported their symptoms resurfaced after one and a half weeks while the group that received the novel digital exercises reported relief from depression up to a month after the original infusion.

Price and her team will follow up with the patients for a full year after the ketamine infusion to see how long the combination of ketamine and smiling faces could alleviate depression symptoms.

For companies that run ketamine infusion clinics, such as Delic Holdings Corp. (CSE: DELC) (OTCQB: DELCF), these research findings are further confirmation that the potential of psychedelics to boost health and well-being has yet to be fully tapped.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Delic Holdings Corp. (CSE: DELC) (OTCQB: DELCF) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/DELCF

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