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AAIC 2022 | Boosting ketone levels for brain function: human studies

Mark Mattson, PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, shares an overview of several recent or ongoing studies investigating the therapeutic potential of boosting ketone levels for the prevention of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Intermittent fasting, which causes an increase in ketone levels, has been shown in mouse models to ameliorate cognitive impairment and protect neurons from degeneration. Several early human studies also support the viability of such an approach. Investigations from Stephen Cunnane, PhD, Universite de Sherbrooke, have shown that dietary supplementation with a ketogenic medium chain triglyceride drink led to improvements in cognition in patients with mild cognitive impairment. Some cognitive outcomes also correlated positively with plasma ketone levels. Prof. Mattson also mentions a study from Dimitrios Kapogiannis, MD, National Institute on Aging, looking at the impact of intermittent calorie restriction versus a healthy living diet on insulin resistance and biomarkers of brain function (NCT02460783), as insulin resistance at midlife increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A new trial (NCT04421014) testing a ketone ester drink in adults at risk for cognitive impairment has also recently launched. It will assess improvements in brain metabolic function and cognition. This interview took place at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2022 in San Diego, CA.