Ketamine is a drug that has long been used as an anesthetic, sedative, analgesic, and antidepressant. It was developed in the mid-1960s by researchers at Parke-Davis (now a Pfizer subsidiary). One of its first uses was for American servicemen during the Vietnam War.
Anesthetics are used in a multitude of medical procedures, but little is known about their mode of action in the nervous system. R. G. Eckenhoff and co-workers at the University of Pennsylvania recently discovered that ketamine binds to and activates olfactory receptors in mouse brains. They believe that these receptors may be prime targets for new anesthetics.
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