How an Atkins-Like Diet Can Treat Epilepsy: Leptin Attenuates Rodent Seizure Severity
Published: Dec 21, 2007
Not all individuals who have epilepsy respond to traditional treatments and these individuals are said to have medically refractory epilepsy. Strict use of a ketogenic diet high in fats and extremely low in carbohydrates is sometimes used for treatment of refractory epilepsy, and is effective about half of the time. However, the mechanisms whereby ketogenic diets suppress epileptic symptoms have long been a mystery. New data generated by Kelvin Yamada and colleagues at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, has revealed that intranasal delivery of leptin, a hormone important in feeding and energy metabolism, delayed the onset of convulsions in a rodent model of seizures. As indicated by Tamas Horvath and Sabrina Diano in an accompanying commentary, these data suggest that leptin-triggered signaling may be a key to how a ketogenic diet combats epilepsy.