Diet and nutrition can profoundly influence brain development and function. Indeed, from a medical perspective, dietary and metabolic therapies have been and continue to be explored in a wide variety of neurological diseases, including epilepsy, autism spectrum disorder, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, sleep disorders, malignant brain cancer, headache and chronic pain syndromes, as well as multiple sclerosis. More recently, a parallel approach has been taken to treat mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and even schizophrenia. The impetus for using various diets to treat these disorders stems from both a relative lack of effectiveness of existing pharmacological therapies for many medical conditions and the intrinsic appeal of implementing a non-pharmacological therapy.
Over the past 25 years, the metabolic underpinnings of diseases that affect highly energy-dependent organs such as the brain have garnered widespread global interest and scientific validation. The catalyst for this exponential surge of activity has been the Ketogenic Diet, a high-fat and low-carbohydrate treatment for pharmaco-resistant epilepsy which was created a century ago to mirror the biochemical changes induced by fasting – a strategy noted over two millennia to control seizures. While there have been great advances in our scientific understanding of how the Ketogenic Diet works over the last generation, one of the more noteworthy observations has been that this metabolism-based approach affords neuroprotective and potentially disease-modifying effects – not simply symptom relief. Thus, there is now a timely opportunity to fully exploit these advances for the benefit of patients across the age-span.
Over the past few years, medical professionals and non-profit organizations representing the major continents on Earth have regularly convened to create a new global society devoted to the advancement of the broad spectrum of metabolism-based therapies for neurological disorders – from clinical, educational, research, training, community outreach and advocacy perspectives. This professional organization has been named the International Neurological Ketogenic Society or INKS, and its formal inauguration during the upcoming October 2021 Brighton (United Kingdom) symposium will coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the birth of the Ketogenic Diet. In parallel, regional global INKS Chapters will be created to establish a truly global network of centers and organizations whose mission will be to promote metabolism-based therapies for neurological and mental health disorders. While not all metabolism-based treatments result in prominent ketone body production, the term “ketogenic” has been retained to honor the historical origins of the rapidly growing fields fully embraced and supported by INKS.
Professor Jong Rho – Chair of the Executive Board for INKS
For further information about INKS and to register your interest in this society please visit: www.neuroketo.org