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Study: Laughing gas helps depression symptoms

depression nitrous oxide
nitrous oxide

(WSIL) -- Depression is no laughing matter and a new study is showing promise on easing symptoms.

A new study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Chicago looked into the effects of nitrous oxide, known as laughing gas, to help reduce depression symptoms. It interacts with different receptors in the brain.

Twenty participants with depression breathed in a mixture of laughing gas and oxygen for about an hour. They did this three times, about a month apart.

Researchers found that 17 participants had improved. Eight were no longer considered clinically depressed.

The study's authors note that many participants were also taking anti-depressants at the time, but for the most part the drugs hadn't been relieving their depression.

The study was published the journal "Science Translational Medicine."

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