If you have a brain, you need to know about ketogenic diets. The fact that these specially-formulated low-carbohydrate diets have the power to stop seizures in their tracks is concrete evidence that food has a tremendous impact on brain chemistry and should inspire curiosity about how they work. I first became interested in ketogenic diets as a potential treatment for bipolar mood disorders, given the many similarities between epilepsy and bipolar disorder.
Ketogenic diets have been around for about 100 years, and have proved to be invaluable tools in the treatment of stubborn neurological conditions, most notably epilepsy. They have also shown promise in the management of other brain-based disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, Traumatic Brain Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, and chronic headaches, as well as in metabolic disorders like obesity, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
But where does the science currently stand on the ketogenic diet and psychiatricdisorders like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s Disease? How many human studies do we have, and what do they tell us? If you are struggling with mood, attention, or memory problems, should you try a ketogenic diet? If you are a clinician, should you recommend a ketogenic diet to your patients?
A recent review article “The Current Status of the Ketogenic Diet in Psychiatry” by researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia [Bostock et al 2017 Front Psychiatry 20(8)] brings us nicely up to date on all things ketogenic and mental health. I summarize the paper below and offer some thoughts and suggestions of my own. [Full disclosure: I am a psychiatrist who studies nutrition and eats a ketogenic diet.]
I wait in the hallway with about 50 other people. Some are sitting down, others are leaning casually against the wall – and the rest of us are nervously pacing. I silently practice my lines in my head, but I keep forgetting the words that I could normally recite in my sleep. I’m sweating despite the air conditioning, and as they call my name to go up to the stage, I wonder if I’m going to slide right out of my shoes and fall flat on my face in front of the entire casting panel. “Please don’t breakout,” I repeat to myself, knowing that stress can sometimes affect my urticaria.
Anyone who has auditioned for a role – a play, sport or musical performance – can tell you how terrifying it can be…and multiply that by infinity if you live with urticaria. You are voluntarily putting yourself at the mercy of people whose job is to critique you. Even those who have performed their entire lives can still get nervous before an audition. There are few things I find as frightening as the first time standing before a casting director, trying to give them my best performance, while fighting back the nerves that threaten to make a fool out of me.
In some ways, this fear is like living with urticaria. When I have visible wheals, it often feels like I am on a stage, exposed under the bright lights with everyone staring at me. I am always consciously aware of every visible inch of skin, every move I make and how I am being perceived by others.
What I’m about to say is not something I’d ever say or admit (to you), because to do so would end the winner-takes-all-game that is my main source of pleasure in life — one that effectively keeps you carrying my load in our relationship.
And that’s the whole point.
When I say “I love you” I mean that I love how hard you work to make me feel like your everything, that I am the focus of your life, that you want me to be happy, and that I’ll never be expected to do the same.
I love the power I have to take advantage of your kindness and intentions to be nice, and the pleasure I derive when I make myself feel huge in comparison to you, taking every opportunity to make you feel small and insignificant.
Women with low levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life, finds a large-scale study on women in Finland.
The study, “25-Hydroxyvitamin D deficiency and risk of MS among women in the Finnish Maternity Cohort,” appeared in the journal Neurology.
Several studies have suggested a link between levels of vitamin D, or 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D), and MS later in life. However, most of these studies were conducted in small groups and with limited capacity of analyzing vitamin D’s impact on MS.
Hoping to learn more, researchers at Boston’s Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health — working with Finland’s University of Turku — analyzed vitamin D levels in more than 800,000 blood samples from pregnant women, as part of prenatal evaluations, and correlated them with the incidence of MS in this population.
The self-obsessed, utterly beautiful predator who was born next to the river – adored to contempt for all those who fell in love with him.
This story stems out of how a man saw his reflection in the river. There were no mirrors at that time. He fell in love with himself so much that while he was staring at himself in the water, he fell in it. And in that exact same place a flower grew – called the narcissus. The extent to which one can be in love with themselves and obsess on each and every detail of themselves is limitless. It is ironic how the flower that grew in that river also gazed at itself everyday – mere reflection of what it was.