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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Can Ketamine Treat Depression?

July 18, 2014, 12:00 AM

Around 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. The World Health Organization reports that depression is the leading cause of disability. It is a serious clinical problem, and leading treatments, like Prozac and Paxil, can take weeks to months to work. There may be new hope for treating depression in the form of a popular “club drug” called Special K.

Dr. Dennis Charney, the Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the author of Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges, has been leading a team of researchers to find a faster, more effective treatment. Dr. Charney told Big Think: “Now some people know ketamine as a recreational drug of abuse called Special K, but we have found that it has potential for the treatment of depression that had not responded to traditional antidepressant treatments and that it works faster -- that it can work within several hours.”

Ketamine works very differently from available anti-depressants. Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, for instance, block the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Instead, ketamine works through the glutamate system. Research is still underway to understand how it effects the system. The initial results are promising.

For more on Dr. Charney’s insights into this revolutionary new depression treatment, watch a clip from Big Think’s interview:


Can Ketamine Treat Depressi...

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