MSW Research Corner: Ketamine Futures for Neurodegenerative Disorders (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Traumatic Brain Injury)

MSW Research Corner: Ketamine Futures for Neurodegenerative Disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Traumatic Brain Injury)

MSW Research Corner: Ketamine Futures for MSW Research Corner: Ketamine Futures for Neurodegenerative Disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Traumatic Brain Injury)

Adam Mitchell, Director of Clinical Research


This edition of the MSW Research Corner is close to my heart.  Neurodegenerative conditions pose more than practical healthcare and economic considerations.  The impact of these disorders upon the lives of individuals and their family members is profound.  The prevalence of these progressive conditions through all social demographics ensures most of us will come to know the devastating effects of the kinds of brain damage caused by accident and acquired diseases, such as Alzheimers and dementias.  My grandfather succumbed to Alzheimers when I was an adolescent, no longer able to recognize me from the small child he struggled to recall.  His son, my father, had died after a short, tragically progressive diagnosis of ALS.  The degree to which life-enhancing, brain protecting treatments can extend the well-being, independence and life-expectancy of those diagnosed with neurodegenerative disorders has potential to help us in unspeakable ways.  This segment of MY Self Wellness Research Corner focuses on these neurodegenerative disorders, their impact, and their specific mechanisms which Ketamine Therapy directly addresses. 


The yearly economic burden of neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s and related dementias, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis & ALS) exceeded $650-billion dollars in 2020 within the United States alone.   Lifetime healthcare costs are more than $200,000 greater for those with dementia diagnosis than for those without such progressive diagnoses.  Neurological care is under-accessed, with up to 20% of persons with Parkinson’s disease estimated undiagnosed.  As generations of population growth continue to age over the coming decades, care needs for neurodegenerative disorders are expected to explode (1, 2).  Several psychedelic medicines associated with neuroplasticity and brain health are proposed as near-future treatments for neurodegenerative diseases (3).  Progression of Parkinson’s disease in particular, which destroys dopamine receptors, may be slowed by ketamine’s effects, regrowing dopamine receptors which Parkinson’s destroys (4, 5).


Aside from their impact on neurons themselves, neurodegenerative disorders are known to have runaway inflammatory dysfunction (6) encouraging anti-inflammatories to move to the center of treatment for these brain disorders (7, 8).  Apart from ketamine’s helpful impact on neurons themselves, ketamine affects immune functioning and inflammation production in compelling ways.  Ketamine normalizes dysregulated inflammation (9, 10) in tremendously meaningful ways for the treatment of chronic neurological conditions such as traumatic brain injury (11), stroke (12, 13), and other neurodegenerative conditions like ALS and dementia disorders (14).  Critically due to ketamine’s ability to promote mTor activation for mitochondrial health and increase BDNF for neuronal growth and plasticity, ketamine has potential as a current treatment to slow or halt processes central in neurodegenerative decline (15, 16, 17).


While future research awaits determining definitive treatments to slow the progression of neurodegenerative conditions- the foreseeable dream of ultimately halting their progression helping us to live long lives without dysfunction- the effects of ketamine reveal applications for promising though unproven treatments for these conditions.  I think of the greater time grandparents may have, being able to recognize their grandchildren.  I think of fathers like my own, able to walk more unassisted steps into a future, less impacted for those with neurodegenerative conditions.  To explore any questions about Ketamine Therapy, or the array of chronic treatment conditions we are helping people liberate themselves from, call us at MY Self Wellness at 239-908-9958.



  1. Thorpe, K. E., Levey, A. I., & Thomas, J. (2021). US burden of neurodegenerative disease. Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), 1-13.
  2. Dorsey, E. R., George, B. P., Leff, B., & Willis, A. W. (2013). The coming crisis: obtaining care for the growing burden of neurodegenerative conditions. Neurology, 80(21), 1989-1996.
  3. Saeger, H. N., & Olson, D. E. (2022). Psychedelic‐inspired approaches for treating neurodegenerative disorders. Journal of Neurochemistry, 162(1), 109-127.
  4. Vanle, B., Olcott, W., Jimenez, J., Bashmi, L., Danovitch, I., & IsHak, W. W. (2018). NMDA antagonists for treating the non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease. Translational Psychiatry, 8(1), 117.
  5. Ferro, M. M., Angelucci, M. E. M., Anselmo-Franci, J. A., Canteras, N. S., & Da Cunha, C. (2007). Neuroprotective effect of ketamine/xylazine on two rat models of Parkinson’s disease. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 40, 89-96.
  6. Schwab, C., & McGeer, P. L. (2008). Inflammatory aspects of Alzheimer disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 13(4), 359-369.
  7. Marchetti, B., & Abbracchio, M. P. (2005). To be or not to be (inflamed)–is that the question in anti-inflammatory drug therapy of neurodegenerative disorders?. Trends in pharmacological sciences, 26(10), 517-525.
  8. Missiroli, S., Genovese, I., Perrone, M., Vezzani, B., Vitto, V. A., & Giorgi, C. (2020). The role of mitochondria in inflammation: from cancer to neurodegenerative disorders. Journal of clinical medicine, 9(3), 740.
  9. De Kock, M., Loix, S., & Lavand’homme, P. (2013). Ketamine and peripheral inflammation. CNS neuroscience & therapeutics, 19(6), 403-410.
  10. Loix, S., De Kock, M., & Henin, P. J. A. A. (2011). The anti-inflammatory effects of ketamine: state of the art. Acta Anaesthesiol Belg, 62(1), 47-58.
  11. Corps, K. N., Roth, T. L., & McGavern, D. B. (2015). Inflammation and neuroprotection in traumatic brain injury. JAMA neurology, 72(3), 355-362.
  12. Anrather, J., & Iadecola, C. (2016). Inflammation and stroke: an overview. Neurotherapeutics, 13, 661-670.
  13. Lambertsen, K. L., Finsen, B., & Clausen, B. H. (2019). Post-stroke inflammation—target or tool for therapy?. Acta neuropathologica, 137, 693-714.
  14. Amor, S., Peferoen, L. A., Vogel, D. Y., Breur, M., van der Valk, P., Baker, D., & van Noort, J. M. (2014). Inflammation in neurodegenerative diseases–an update. Immunology, 142(2), 151-166.
  15. Akinfiresoye, L., & Tizabi, Y. (2013). Antidepressant effects of AMPA and ketamine combination: role of hippocampal BDNF, synapsin, and mTOR. Psychopharmacology, 230, 291-298.
  16. Maiese, K. (2016). Targeting molecules to medicine with mTOR, autophagy and neurodegenerative disorders. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 82(5), 1245-1266.
  17. Lipton, J. O., & Sahin, M. (2014). The neurology of mTOR. Neuron, 84(2), 275-291.


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