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ketogenic

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 ...

Ketogenic Diet? There’s a Pill for That!

‘Ketogenic’ pill to treat drug-resistant epilepsy EpilepsyAction: New studies in Japan have identified a drug that may help people with epilepsy whose seizures don’t respond to medication. The drug changes the energy supply to the brain – effectively mimicking the ketogenic diet Most anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are believed to suppress seizures by affecting neuron activity in the brain. This new study – conducted by Tsuyoshi Inoue at Okayama University, Japan – takes a new approach. Instead of targeting the neurons directly, this new approach affects astrocytes – the cells that support neurons and provide them with energy when they need it. Recent studies suggest that metabolism may be important in some cases of epilepsy. By metabolism, we mean the chemical reactions that take place ...

Benefits and Complications of the Ketogenic Diet for Epilepsy

The ketogenic diet, also known as the traditional ketogenic diet and modified Atkin’s diet, is an important and validated dietary approach to controlling intractable epilepsy that focuses on a high-fat, protein, and low-carb diet. Yet despite its success in cases of drug-resistant epilepsy, the mechanism behind its effectiveness is still not well understood. Several hypotheses are based on the difference in cell metabolism between standard and fat-based KD, while other hypotheses focus on increased production of adenosine triphosphate. “There is an ion channel in the membrane of neurons which makes membrane less excitable; a potassium channel which is activated specifically by adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The more ATP is generated, the more this channel is active and the less excita...

THE KETOGENIC DIET FOR ADULTS

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...

Epilepsy’s Big Fat Miracle

Once every three or four months my son, Sam, grabs a cookie or a piece of candy and, wide-eyed, holds it inches from his mouth, ready to devour it. He knows he’s not allowed to eat these things, but like any 9-year-old, he hopes that somehow, this once, my wife, Evelyn, or I will make an exception. We never make exceptions when it comes to Sam and food, though, which means that when temptation takes hold of Sam and he is denied, things can get pretty hairy. Confronted with a gingerbread house at a friend’s party last December, he went scorched earth, grabbing parts of the structure and smashing it to bits. Reason rarely works. Usually one of us has to pry the food out of his hands. Sometimes he ends up in tears.

Fat in the Brain (and the ACOT7 Enzyme)

We’re all fatheads. That is, our brain cells are packed with fat molecules, more of them than almost any other cell type. Still, if the brain cells’ fat content gets too high, they’ll be in trouble. In a recent study in mice, researchers at Johns Hopkins pinpointed an enzyme that keeps neurons’ fat levels under control, and may be implicated in human neurological diseases. Their findings are published in the May 2013 issue ofMolecular and Cellular Biology. “There are known connections between problems with how the body’s cells process fats and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,” says Michael Wolfgang, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at th...

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