Researchers Are Investigating Epilepsy Treatments Based on Gut Bacteria

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The biotechnology company Bloom Science has found that the ketogenic diet can be an effective treatment for epilepsy due to its effects on gut bacteria. Bloom Science is planning on using this discovery to develop epilepsy medicines for patients. The full article can be read here, at PR Newswire.

Bloom Science has been granted an exclusive technology license relating to the pre-clinical investigations that showed the role of gut bacteria in the outcomes of the ketogenic diet for some patients with epilepsy. The company is planning to carry out further research into how these findings can be translated into medicines. The research has been published in the journal Cell and can be found here.

Epilepsy is a condition that causes seizures, which are periods of high electrical energy in the brain that affect how it functions. It usually, but not always, begins either in childhood or after the age of 60. Approximately 65 million people in the world are believed to have a form of epilepsy. With this number of people affected, epilepsy itself is not considered rare; however, epilepsy is a frequent complication or symptom of some rare diseases or disorders.

The ketogenic diet is a therapeutic diet that originated in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy, and should only be carried under guidance from a doctor. In its classical form, it adjusts the levels of fat, protein, and carbohydrate in the diet. It has been shown to be effective at controlling seizures for patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.

The recent research into the diet outlined in Cell used two pre-clinical mouse models to show that the ketogenic diet leads to an increase in the number of certain bacteria in the gut. The research shows that these particular bacteria can protect against some seizures. They do this by affecting the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. Based on this, Bloom Science is developing products that can modulate GABA to be neuroprotective for people who have epilepsy.


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