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Epilepsy Res. 2012 Jul;100(3):210-7. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2011.05.021. Epub 2011 Aug 30.

The ketogenic diet: what has science taught us?

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1
Department of Paediatrics and Clinical Neurosciences, Alberta Children's Hospital, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. jong.rho@albertahealthservices.ca

Abstract

Despite intense and growing interest in studying the mechanisms of ketogenic diet (KD) action, and recently published studies implicating novel molecular interactions with metabolic substrates, there nevertheless remains the pragmatic and scientific challenge of sustaining continued research in this field. This is in part a consequence of limited research funding and perhaps skepticism regarding the ultimate need to understand underlying mechanisms, particularly when clinical studies have increasingly validated the efficacy of the KD and its variants. After a decade and a half of more concerted laboratory efforts to understand KD mechanisms, it would be prudent to ask - what has all this scientific research really taught us? In this regard, it is instructive to compare and contrast laboratory research in dietary approaches for epilepsy with that traditionally used to screen for potential antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). In this review, lessons learned from AED development are applied to the more recent experimental findings and approaches attempting to link metabolic changes induced by the KD to neuronal and network excitability in the brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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