Biography- Terrence Early MD
After completing medical school at Duke University and a psychiatric residency at Washington University, I joined the
faculty at Washington University and initially did research in brain imaging and cognitive studies. In 1993, I moved to
the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where I became interested in developing novel treatments for
refractory psychiatric illness. Beginning in 1999 I received grants from Narsad and the Stanley Foundation to
compare high dose sevoflurane to electroconvulsive therapy for treatment resistant mood disorders. This was a
replication of a finding reported by Dr. Gerhard Langer using isoflurane, which has recently been replicated by Dr.
Howard Weeks and his collaboratorsat the University of Utah using isoflurane and propofol. Like these investigators,
I found it impossible to disseminate this useful treatment, which is as effective as ECT but does not cause any
cognitive side effects. I became interested in the science behind the diffusion of innovation, and was primed to explore ketamine when the initial results were published. In 2007, I collaborated with a pain specialist at Baylor, studying ketamine therapy in patients with pain and psychiatric illness and saw first hand the robust effects of this treatment. I also encountered the resistance that is uniformly experienced by investigators attempting to introduce
ketamine into institutional settings, and realized that the main obstacles to patients accessing this treatment were
financial and regulatory. My experience with sevoflurane made it clear that even very safe, effective treatments may
not become available if they do not get past these obstacles. I decided to leave academia and attempt to introduce
ketamine into routine psychiatric practice. I moved to Santa Barbara, California and in 2009 was the first psychiatrist to offer subanesthetic ketamine in a psychiatric private practice in an affordable, safe, and effect manner in this state. I have mentored many physicians in the use of outpatient ketamine and am a board member of the Ketamine Research Foundation.