Daniel Lowenstein, MD: Understanding the Gut-Brain Connection in Epilepsy

January 10, 2020

The professor of neurology and executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, San Francisco detailed the connection between the gut microbiome and epilepsy.

“The connection, whether its the immune system or other factors that are released into the blood stream that make their way to the brain. Or these direct neural connections. There's now absolutely no doubt whatsoever that there's some major interactions between the gut and the brain.”

Research has shown that the gut microbiome has a direct impact on the immune system, which affects the brain. The gut influences the production of neurotrophic factors in the brain, and also alters the release of cytokines in the blood, all of which impact the brain.

These parallels raise questions about a potential relationship between the gut microbiome and epilepsy, especially in light of the ketogenic diet, which is an effective therapy for patients with epilepsy that does not respond to standard pharmaceutical treatment.

Daniel Lowenstein, MD, professor of neurology and executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, San Francisco, sat down with NeurologyLive at the 73rd annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES), December 6-10, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland, to discuss the potential that the gut microbiome may hold for the future of epilepsy treatment.

For more coverage of AES 2019, click here.