(January 28, 2016) -- One of the latest treatments for depression involves something called infrared light therapy. It’s being studied at Mass General Hospital in Boston, using clinical trials.
“The near infrared light through the forehead gets to the powerhouse of the cell, which are the mitochondria and that leads to more energy in the brain areas that are close to the source of light,” says Dr. Paolo Cassano.
Cassano says the light also decreases inflammation in the brain and increases connections between neurons.
All of this seems to help a person feel better. It’s still experimental but Jerry Spencer, who has suffered with depression and is enrolled in the clinical trial, believes the treatment works.
“Now, I’m functioning, I’m working. I’m busy,” says Spencer.
Another novel approach to treating depression is the use of small doses of the anesthetic drug, ketamine. Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. and it’s likely caused in part by chemical imbalances in the brain.
“Many patients don’t realize this is a treatable condition,” says Dr. Cristina Cusin, “they don’t realize they can feel better sometimes in just a few weeks.”
4 Your Health is presented by American Senior Communities.