Antidepressants are nothing new, but the U.S. Army is looking into a new way to deliver them. That's why they gave the University of Indiana $3 million to work on an anti-suicide nasal spray.
The active ingredient here is something called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), and it's already shown promise in preventing suicides. The problem is figuring out how to get the stuff into the brain. TRH is able to help with suicidal urges, depression, and bipolar disorder, but as of now, the only effective way to treat people with it is by spinal tap. Nobody wants a spinal tap, especially people who are depressed and suicidal.
Because of recent breakthroughs in nanoparticle delivery systems, the nose might be a viable entry point, which is why the Army has offered the funding (a pittance by US military standards) to Indiana's Dr. Michael Kubek to try and help the process along. If the spray works, it would be the most convenient and fast-acting antidepressant delivery mechanism out there.
Medical director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Dr. Ken Duckworth, sees promise in the concept. He told The Daily:
"This is a brilliant idea. It would solve one of the biggest problems we have with medication used today. It might work, but it doesn't work fast enough. ...The nasal spray would stabilize them right away, while they wait for the [antidepressants] to do their job."
If you can't stop soldiers (or civilians) from having suicidal urges in the first place, giving them an easy way to deal with them is the next best solution. Taking a little mist up the nose seems way better than doing yourself in. [The Daily via Business Insider]