The impact of ketogenic diet on cerebral excitability
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Many neurological disorders are a result of widespread changes in the excitability of brain tissue. The specific changes in neuronal excitability produces or worsens many of the symptoms associated with these disorders. Pharmacological methods are effective, but their associated side-effects are substantial, and often approximate the severity of the symptoms of the original disorder. The ketogenic diet, a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, has been shown to improve many neurological diseases by reducing hyperexcitability without the aforementioned side effects. The current study tested the hypothesis that a ketogenic diet would be associated with alterations in cerebral excitability. Animals were fed either a control or ketogenic diet for at least 21 days prior to experimentation. Power spectral analysis was conducted using EEG data across frequency bands, and compared between diet groups. Current source density analysis was also performed to visualize potential alterations in cerebral excitability.. In the second part of the experiment, a non-invasive ischemic stroke was delivered, and the excitability of the contralateral cortex was monitored. No significant differences were observed between ketogenic and control experiments in regards to overall excitability, although ketogenic diet experiments showed a significantly higher number of acute EEG depressions. No cortical spreading depression events were observed in contralateral recordings. Our findings are in contrast with data showing that ketogenic diets change overall basal excitability, but are in concert with other studies that show that ketogenic diets may not be associated with changes in excitability, but in changes in neuroplasticity.