When we learn something new, we create new connections between the neurons in our brain. We also rewire our brain to adapt to new situations. This happens on a daily basis, but it’s also something that we can encourage and stimulate, which is why you are looking at ketamine as a viable treatment option.
Research slows ketamine increases expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is the brain’s own repair inducer. This protein promotes the survival of neurons by playing a role in the growth, maturation (differentiation), and maintenance of these cells. Not only does ketamine increase BDNF, but it also increases the number of receptors that BDNF binds to. With time, there is more repair factor and more receptors available to be activated by the repair factor. The outcome is that over a period of weeks, neuroplasticity and repair occur in the brain.
Neuroplasticity can occur due to certain factors, like behavior, environment, or neural processes. During such changes, the brain engages in synaptic pruning, removing the neural connections that are no longer necessary or useful, and strengthening the necessary ones. What does this mean? It means that we have the power to create change in our brain which facilitates change in our lives.