The ketogenic diet: What has science taught us?

Jong M. Rho, Carl E. Stafstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Despite intense and growing interest in studying the mechanisms of ketogenic diet (KD) action, and recently published studies implicating novel molecular interactions with metabolic substrates, there nevertheless remains the pragmatic and scientific challenge of sustaining continued research in this field. This is in part a consequence of limited research funding and perhaps skepticism regarding the ultimate need to understand underlying mechanisms, particularly when clinical studies have increasingly validated the efficacy of the KD and its variants. After a decade and a half of more concerted laboratory efforts to understand KD mechanisms, it would be prudent to ask - what has all this scientific research really taught us? In this regard, it is instructive to compare and contrast laboratory research in dietary approaches for epilepsy with that traditionally used to screen for potential antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). In this review, lessons learned from AED development are applied to the more recent experimental findings and approaches attempting to link metabolic changes induced by the KD to neuronal and network excitability in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-217
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsy Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • 2-Deoxy-d-glucose
  • Animal models
  • Anticonvulsant mechanisms
  • Epilepsy
  • Ketogenic diet
  • Metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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