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Fasting may benefit patients with epilepsy, Johns Hopkins Children's Center study suggests
Date:12/6/2012

e diet, popularized in the early 1900s, was designed to mimic the physiologic effects of fasting -- a seizure-control method favored by ancient Greeks. Since then, physicians have believed that the two therapies share a common mechanism.

The new Johns Hopkins findings, however, suggest otherwise.

"We suspect that fasting affects nerve cells in a completely different manner from the ketogenic diet," Hartman says.

This hypothesis stemmed from a 2010 study of mice conducted by the Johns Hopkins team.

Two groups of epileptic mice -- one treated with the ketogenic diet and one treated with fasting -- had strikingly different responses to different seizure triggers. Animals treated with the ketogenic diet experienced fewer seizures than fasting mice when exposed to low amounts of electricity, but fared worse when they were injected with kainic acid, a potent nervous system stimulant and a known seizure trigger. Fasting mice, on the other hand, did worse when exposed to electricity but tolerated kainic acid injections far better than their ketogenic diet counterparts. In other words, the researchers say, each therapy protected against one seizure trigger, while increasing sensitivity to the other.

"We don't fully understand the reasons for these marked differences, but unraveling the mechanisms behind them will help pave the way toward new therapies for epilepsy, and is the focus of our ongoing work," says Eric Kossoff, M.D., pediatric neurologist and director of the ketogenic diet clinic at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.


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Contact: ekaterina pesheva
epeshev1@jhmi.edu
410-502-9433
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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