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Diet May Help Fight Epilepsy When Meds Fail

For children with epilepsy who don’t find relief from their seizures with medication, a tightly controlled nutrition plan might help, a pair of new studies suggests.   Called the ketogenic diet, the therapy provides a carefully balanced high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that causes the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. This changes the way brain cells use energy and helps to reduce seizures, according to the researchers.

What are ketogenic diets? Can they treat epilepsy and brain cancer?

Ketogenic diets are back in the news with claims they are a “cure-all”. Research shows that in epilepsy not controlled by current treatment, around 50% of children and adults following ketogenic diets have a reduction in seizures. For brain cancer, most research has been in animals. A number of human trials are underway testing safety, tolerance, interactions with other treatments, side-effects and the impact on cancer progression, quality of life and survival. So what are ketones? Although the main source of energy for the body is usually carbohydrate, which gets converted to blood glucose during digestion and metabolism, the body can also burn fat for energy. Ketone bodies, or ketones for short, are molecules produced by the liver when fat is metabolised. Ketones are used as ...

Valproic Acid Concentration Drops With Ketogenic Diet

For patients with epilepsy, anti-epileptic drug serum concentrations remain stable during the ketogenic diet, apart from those of valproic acid, according to a study published online June 18 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. Changes in serum concentrations of other anti-epileptic drugs not found to be significant. For patients with epilepsy, anti-epileptic drug serum concentrations remain stable during the ketogenic diet (KD), apart from those of valproic acid, according to a study published online June 18 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

Yeast extract may boost brain function

Researchers suggest that Marmite may benefit brain function. Marmite is far from one of the most popular foods in the United States. In fact, many Americans are unlikely to have heard of it. A new study, however, suggests that when it comes to boosting brain function, Marmite triumphs over peanut butter.

Mediterranean diet may help provide long-term protection to the brain

A new study shows that older people who followed a Mediterranean diet retained more brain volume over a three-year period than those who did not follow the diet as closely. The study is published in the January 4, 2017, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. But contrary to earlier studies, eating more fish and less meat was not related to changes in the brain.

Fasting May Help to Prevent Seizures by Calming Nervous System, Early Study Suggests

Reducing calorie intake, or fasting, may help decrease the frequency of seizures in people with epilepsy by calming overexcited neurons in the brain, early research suggests. “Our findings suggest that one of the reasons that fasting is beneficial is that it gives the nervous system a break,” Pejmun Haghighi, PhD, the study’ senior author, said in a press release. The study, “Acute Fasting Regulates Retrograde Synaptic Enhancement through a 4E-BP-Dependent Mechanism,” was published in the December issue of the journal Neuron.

Different types of stroke have diverse risk profiles in overweight or obese women

According to new research, women who are overweight or obese may have an increased risk of the most common kind of stroke, called ischemic stroke, but a decreased risk of a more often deadly stroke, called hemorrhagic stroke. The study is published in the September 7, 2016, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. “We found that the risk of ischemic stroke, which is associated with a blockage of blood flow to the brain and is the most common stroke subtype, is increased in overweight and obese women. By contrast, the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, which is associated with bleeding into the brain, is decreased in overweight an...

New ‘Brain Food’ Scale Flags Best Nutrients for Depression

In many cases of epilepsy, depression as well as autism, ADHD and anxiety may be present.Vegan’s and Vegetarian’s also beware. Scientists have developed a new evidence-based scale that rates animal- and plant-based foods that improve depressive symptoms. Research on this scale and on foods that help nourish the brain was presented here at a standing-room-only session during the American Psychiatric Association (APA) 2016 Annual Meeting. There is increasing evidence regarding the crucial role that diet plays in brain health, particularly in the areas of depression and dementia, said Drew Ramsey, MD, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, Columbia University, New York City, who was one of the session speakers. Although the research focuses more in the areas of depression and...

Evolving Role Of the Ketogenic Diet in Treating Intractable Childhood Epilepsy and Beyond

The implementation of a ketogenic diet (KD) to treat intractable childhood epilepsy has ancient origins. As elements of the treatment have advanced over the centuries, clinicians are hopeful the diet’s uses can be expanded to address other neurological disorders. The CDC estimates 1 percent of children ages 0–17 (approximately 750,000) are affected by epilepsy or seizure disorders. The majority of these children receive first line pharmacologic treatment, which effectively treats their epilepsy. However, 20–30 percent of patients do not respond to medications, and one of the most efficacious alternative therapies is the KD.

Researchers identify dietary fat that could offer more effective epilepsy treatment

Decanoic acid ‘more effective that current epilepsy treatments’ While anti-seizure medications are considered the primary treatment for epilepsy, some individuals with the condition do not respond to such therapy. But the results of a new study may offer a solution; researchers found a fatty acid that forms part of a ketogenic diet could be used to treat the condition. Researchers found a fatty acid that forms a part of the MCT ketogenic diet was effective for preventing seizures in people with epilepsy. Prof. Robin Williams, of the Centre for Biomedical Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London in the UK, and colleagues publish their findings in the journal Brain. A ketogenic diet incorporates foods that are high in fats, moderate in proteins and low in carbohydrates. T...

BREAKTHROUGH: Amino Acid Appears to Block Seizures in Mice

Finding may pave way for much-needed treatments for people with epilepsy Finding suggests novel mechanism for treating epilepsy An amino acid whose role in the body has been all but a mystery appears to act as a potent seizure inhibitor in mice, according to a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins. In a series of experiments, the amino acid D-leucine, found in many foods and certain bacteria, interrupted prolonged seizures, a serious condition known as status epilepticus, and it did so just as effectively as the epilepsy drug diazepam — the choice of treatment for patients in the throes of convulsions — but without any of the drug’s sedative side effects. Results of the federally funded research, reported online June 4 in the journalNeurobiology of Disease, also suggest that D-leucine work...

Diabetic Diet for Autism?

Autism symptoms can be reduced in an animal model with low glycemic index diets, similar to those diabetics follow to control blood sugar levels, according to a new study. The study by Salk Institute scientists found that the brains of mice fed diets with a high glycemic index accumulated more activated immune cells called microglia, along with signs of inflammation. The mice also exhibited more autistic type behaviors, such as impaired social interactions, and apparently purposeless activities. Mice fed low glycemic index diets showed improved behavior.

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