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ketogenic diet

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 ...

Research examines ketone esters to combat hyperbaric oxygen toxicity in Navy divers

For the first time, ketone esters-oral supplements useful in epilepsy treatment-are being studied to fight seizures caused by hyperbaric oxygen toxicity, a life-threatening byproduct of breathing too much oxygen that impacts deep-water divers. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is sponsoring this research. “This work represents a renaissance in how therapies are repurposed for other applications,” said Dr. William D’Angelo, a program manager in ONR’s Undersea Medicine Program. “Traditionally, certain therapies were only used to treat specific conditions. There’s now a movement to explore how drugs and other therapies already approved by the Food and Drug Administration for one type of treatment could treat more than one ailment.”

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...

Ketogenic Diet and Enzyme Inhibitors Treat Drug-Resistant Epilepsy

SOURCE – One percent of the world’s population suffer from epilepsy, and a third of sufferers cannot be treated with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Diet control has been used to treat patients suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy since the 1920s, but how metabolic processes affect epilepsy has not been fully understood. Now researchers at Okayama University and Kawasaki Medical School have identified the metabolic pathways altered by diet treatments, the enzymes that can control them and potential metabolic drugs that may be effective for treating types of epilepsy that are resistant to other drugs.

10 Year Study Shows Effectiveness of Ketogenic Diet

A new Australian study has offered the latest evidence of the long-term benefits that ketogenic diets can provide to patients with epilepsy. Led by the University of Wollongong, the research project aimed to evaluate efficacy, tolerability and compliance rates associated with three different types of ketogenic diets – the classical ketogenic diet, a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) regime and the modified Atkins diet – over a ten-year period. High-fat, adequate-protein and low-carbohydrate diets of this kind have been shown to be an effective means of providing improved seizure control among people with difficult-to-control forms of epilepsy. However, there is also evidence that this type of diet can sometimes increase the risk of nephrolithiasis – the process that leads to the formation of...

Ketogenic Diet May Help Adults With Refractory Epilepsy

A ketogenic diet could help control refractory epilepsy in adults, according to research published online Oct. 29 in Neurology. THURSDAY, Oct. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A ketogenic diet could help control refractory epilepsy in adults, according to research published online Oct. 29 inNeurology.


Previously, the Ketogenic Diet has been primarily administered to children with epilepsy. Some of the reasons it has not been a staple for adult treatment is that there are some cardiovascular risks and children are able to recover from the treatment at a faster rate. Adults also have longer-term eating habits in place, which can be hard habits to change. An adult caretaker usually makes sure a child is adhering to the diet, doing all of the planning, purchasing, preparing and serving for the child.  An adult will have to take this diet seriously on their own and use their own self-control to adhere to the diet strictly. Furthermore, since several forms of pediatric epilepsy can be so severe and so drug-resistant, previous research has focused on pediatric treatment. There has not been muc...

Ketogenic Diet Works to Prevent and Reduce Seizures in Children

The low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet has been touted as a weight-loss tool, but has also proven effective for managing metastatic cancer and epilepsy among children. A new study from Argentina confirmed the efficacy of the ketogenic diet for managing epileptic seizures, Epilepsy Today reported. Scientists tracked 15 children who had been diagnosed with Lennox–Gastaut syndrome (LGS), a rare and severe form of early onset epilepsy, between 1990 to 2013. The children were placed on a LCHF ketogenic diet for at least 16 months. The results were quite promising. Three children became 100% seizure-free. Amazingly, they were able to remain seizure-free even after being taken off their ketogenic diets. The other 12 children experienced dramatic reductions in seizures: Three reported a 75% to 99% ...

Study shows direct link between metabolism in brain cells and ability to signal information

A new study by scientists at McGill University and the University of Zurich shows a direct link between metabolism in brain cells and their ability to signal information. The research may explain why the seizures of many epilepsy patients can be controlled by a specially formulated diet. The findings, published Jan. 16 in Nature Communications, reveal that metabolism controls the processes that inhibit brain activity, such as that involved in convulsions. The study uncovers a link between how brain cells make energy and how the same cells signal information – processes that neuroscientists have often assumed to be distinct and separate. “Inhibition in the brain is commonly targeted in clinical practice,” notes Derek Bowie, Canada Research Chair in Receptor Pharmacology at...

Studies highlight benefits and risks of ketogenic diet for refractory epilepsy

WASHINGTON – The ketogenic diet is well established as an effective treatment for patients with refractory epilepsy, and although studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society confirm its value for both children and adults, others raise important concerns. Researchers from the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC), for example, reported that adhering to a ketogenic diet (KGD) reduced the number of emergency department visits and hospitalizations, and decreased the length of epilepsy-related hospital stays in children with pharmacologically refractory epilepsy. In 98 children from the Children’s Mercy Hospital–UMKC database who had complete records available and who remained on the diet for at least 6 months, the number of ED visits decreased by 64%, and the...

Asparagine found in meat, eggs and dairy products is important for normal brain development

Asparagine, found in foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products, was until now considered non-essential because it is produced naturally by the body. Researchers at the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital found that the amino acid is essential for normal brain development. This is not the case for other organs. “The cells of the body can do without it because they use asparagine provided through diet. Asparagine, however, is not well transported to the brain via the blood-brain barrier,” said senior co-author of the study Dr. Jacques Michaud, who found that brain cells depend on the local synthesis of asparagine to function properly. First co-author José-Mario Capo-Chichi and colleague Grant Mitchell also made major contributions to the study...

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