2010

Challenge Awards

Seizure Resistance Through Metabolic Control In Novel Mouse Model

Gary Yellen, PhD - Nika Danial, PhD
Harvard Medical School
 

Nearly one-third of people with epilepsy have seizures that cannot be well-treated by existing medications. The success of dietary treatment (such as the ketogenic diet) for many of these individuals suggests a powerful connection between metabolism and seizures. However, these diets are difficult to maintain, spurring a search for alternative ways to manipulate metabolism in order to prevent seizures. Drs. Danial and Yellen are collaborating on a multi-disciplinary approach to this problem based on an exciting initial observation. They found that a genetic manipulation in mice that reduces the metabolism of glucose (sugars) and enhances the metabolism of ketone bodies (compounds which are a vital source of energy in the brain during fasting) can produce strong seizure resistance, which is far more dramatic than seen with the ketogenic diet. They will explore the mechanism of this effect and investigate novel therapeutic targets and approaches for epilepsy treatment.

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