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Ketamine may help patients with depression - study
The study was conducted by scientists at Janssen Research and Development in New Jersey.

Medication might become available on the NHS

The anaesthetic drug ketamine may help to decrease suicidal feelings and depression, according to new research.

The study published in the American Journal of Psychology tested the effect of ketamine on patients rated at risk and in need of hospitalisation. It found that ketamine administered via a nasal spray, together with anti-depressant treatment, cut suicidal thoughts and depression in around four hours.

Researchers say the nasal spray did not exceed that of a placebo with antidepressent treatment at the end of the four-week trial. However, the effects of the spray were profound and similar to those achieved with intravenous ketamine. The spray is now going through phase three trials before it is approved for marketing.

Whilst the study does not report any misuse of ketamine, its authors warn that further research is required on the probable mistreatment of the drug. In recent years, ketamine has been used recreationally, prompting moves to control the substance under international law.

Dr James Stone from the Royal College of Psychiatrists told BBC News the study confirmed the findings from studies into intravenous ketamine that had been successful.

"The main reason for its significance is because this is being developed by a drug company and it's potentially quite likely that this medication might become available as a treatment available on the NHS for depression,” he said.

Dr Stone added that because the ketamine was being administered as a nasal spray, it was “much easier to administer than intravenous ketamine” and “potentially quicker to give”. 

He said that if the drug was to go on to be prescribed on the NHS, it would be aimed at those with severe depression if other drugs had failed.

The study was conducted by scientists at Janssen Research and Development in New Jersey, a Johnson & Johnson company, and the Yale School of Medicine. 

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
British sheep meat to be exported to India in new agreement

The UK government has secured a new export deal of sheep meat to India.

In 2017, UK sheep meat exports were worth £386 million. This new agreement is predicted to increase this value by £6 million over the next five years.

With a range of meat cuts due to be exported, the deal is seen by international trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, as “another vote of confidence in our world-leading food and drink”.