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2010 Grants - Morgan
Ketogenesis and Alzheimer Pathology
David Morgan, Ph.D.
University of South Florida
2010 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
When a person eats a diet very low in calories, their body switches metabolism to a state known as the ketogenic state, in order to protect energy supplies to the brain. There is evidence that the ketogenic state can be beneficial for some brain conditions, and a small amount of preliminary evidence suggests that it may be beneficial for persons with Alzheimer's disease. A ketogenic diet is very difficult to maintain, but there are drugs that can be used to induce the ketogenic state.
David G. Morgan, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed to study whether the ketogenic state is beneficial in mice that have been genetically modified to exhibit Alzheimer-like pathology. The researchers will use drugs to induce the ketogenic state in two different strains of mice, one which exhibits amyloid plaques and one which exhibits neurofibrillary tangles, the two hallmarks of Alzheimer pathology. They will study how the ketogenic state affects nerve cell death and brain function in these two models of disease. These studies will provide valuable information about whether a ketogenic diet may be beneficial in Alzheimer's disease, and whether drugs to induce the ketogenic state can mimic the beneficial effects of a ketogenic diet.