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Author

Hannah Small

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology

Abstract

Epilepsy directly affects an estimated 65 million people globally, making it the most common, serious neurological disorder (Ngugi et al., 2010). Epilepsy encompasses many conditions but it has been loosely defined as a tendency for the brain to experience uncontrolled seizures. An epileptic seizure is defined as the symptoms of aberrant neuronal firing in the brain, which can include excessive or synchronous firing (Fisher et al., 2005). These seizures can range from a few seizures over the course of an individual’s entire life to a serious epilepsy syndrome that results in hundreds of seizures a day.

While the ketogenic diet has reduced seizures in both children and adults (Schwartzkroin, 1999; Musa-Veloso et al., 2002; Williams & Cervenka, 2017), the mechanism of action remains a mystery. Since individuals who have not responded to any medications may respond to the ketogenic diet, the high fat diet may stop seizures by mechanisms different from known drugs. Establishing the mechanism of action for the anticonvulsant activity of the ketogenic diet could provide insight into a new pathway for drug development that may allow treatment with better compliance and fewer side effects.

Available for download on Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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