Washington: Neurologists have for long known that a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet can reduce drug resistant epileptic seizures.But so far, how the diet worked, and why, was a mystery.Now, a new study has unravelled a link between a protein that can modify cellular metabolism in the brain and susceptibility of an epileptic seizure.Epilepsy is a disorder which is characterized by seizures, unpredictable and abnormal bursts of electrical activity in the brain.Some cases of epilepsy are resistant to the traditional drug treatments but can be improved by a "ketogenic" diet.Ketogenic diet, which is very low in sugars and high in fat, forces neurons to switch from their customary fuel of glucose to a type of fat byproduct called a ketone body."The potent effect of increased ketone metabolism on human epilepsy points to a link between fuel utilization and neuronal excitability," said Nika N. Danial, from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School."However, the molecular underpinnings of this link are not fully understood," she said.To study as to how the altered metabolism might protect the brain from seizures, Danial, co-senior author Gary Yellen, and their colleagues explored the role of a protein called BAD (BCL-2-associated Agonist of Cell Death), which modulates glucose metabolism in multiple types of cells.
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