Following a ketogenic — or high-fat, low-carb — diet late in life may improve cognitive function, according to findings published Dec. 3 in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
Neuroscientists from the McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida uncovered differences in protein expression across the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in a study of the ketogenic diet in rodents — findings that could help develop strategies to thwart age-related cognitive decline.
The study, led by Sara Burke, Ph.D., assistant professor of neuroscience in the UF College of Medicine, and postdoc Abbi Hernandez, Ph.D., was aimed at testing a possible therapeutic strategy targeting the reduced ability to utilize glucose for energy metabolism seen in both the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. The study used a ketogenic diet as a metabolic strategy in young and aged rodents to “bypass” the need for neuronal glycolysis, or the enzymatic breakdown of a carbohySate, as a possible remedy for cognitive aging.
Results of the study showed for the first time that implementing a ketogenic diet even late in life may be beneficial for improving cognitive outcomes.