Stephen Cunnane, PhD: The Potential for Brain Energy Rescue in Mild Cognitive Impairment


The professor from the Universite de Sherbrooke also discusses other factors that increase cognitive decline in patients with MCI.

“The most important thing is that it shows a proof of concept. That is, that you can improve cognitive outcomes in MCI. This is not a dead-end street. It looks like there's a way out, if you start early enough.” 

Brain energy rescue is emerging as a promising strategy to early combat neurodegenerative disorders before significant impairment occurs. It is achieved by providing the brain more ketones to metabolize when brain glucose metabolism decreases as an effect of these disorders.1 

Stephen C. Cunnane, PhD, Research Center on Aging, Universite de Sherbrooke, recently published a paper with colleagues that demonstrated the use of a ketogenic drink to achieve brain energy rescue. The study demonstrated significant improvements in cognition in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with the use of a ketogenic medium chain triglyceride (kMCT) drink.2 Read more about this study by clicking here. 

NeurologyLive spoke with Cunnane to learn more about the potential of brain energy rescue in slowing down the progression of MCI to Alzheimer Disease (AD). Cunnane discussed the importance of the study as a proof-of-concept to pave the way for future studies investigating ketogenics and brain energy rescue to mediate MCI. He also stressed the importance of a synergistic approach to slowing down cognitive decline.

1. Cunnane SC, Trushina E, Morland C, et al. Brain energy rescue: an emerging therapeutic concept for neurodegenerative disorders of ageing. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2020;19:609-633. doi: 10.1038/s41573-020-0072-x
2.Fortier M, Castellano CA, St-Pierre V, et. al. A ketogenic drink improves cognition in mild cognitive impairment: Results of a 6-month RCT. Alzheimer’s Dement. Published online Oct 26, 2020. DOI: 10.1002/alz.12206 
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