Colleen Loo

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UNSW Sydney researchers have secured $5.8 million for six projects that will improve Australian public health services.

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Researchers from the Black Dog Institute and UNSW Sydney have questioned the efficacy and safety of intranasal ketamine for depression, with their pilot trial stopped early due to poor side effects in patients.

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A $2.1 million grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council announced today will see UNSW Professor Colleen Loo lead Australia’s largest clinical trial of ketamine as a new treatment for major depression.

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Electroconvulsive therapy remains one of the most effective treatments for severe depression, but new UNSW research shows the gentler ultra-brief pulse stimulation can be just as effective.

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Transcranial direct current stimulation delivered by an expert offers an effective and safe alternative treatment for depression, write Colleen Loo and Kerrie-Anne Ho.

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Ketamine may be useful as an antidepressant in urgent situations – where the patient is seriously depressed and acutely suicidal – and where other treatments have failed, writes Colleen Loo.