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The Effect Of The Ketogenic Diet On Long-term Potentiation In The Hippocampus

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Bryson Reed

Additional Presenters:
Jared Weight (
"Four in ten Americans claim to follow a specific diet regime, with 12.9 million Americans electing to follow the ketogenic diet annually [1]. The ketogenic diet has rapidly established itself as one of the most popular fad diets in the United States over the past decade due to short-term weight loss success. It utilizes ketones, such as beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), as the body's primary energy source instead of the typical source, glucose. Little research has been performed regarding the cognitive effects of the ketogenic diet. We aim to understand the effects of a ketogenic diet on formation and consolidation of memory, which is measured with long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus. Recalling and acting upon prior experiences uses LTP by strengthening neuron synapses (elevates their activation), which leads to a long-lasting increase in signal transmission between neurons [2]. Every time we recall an event, we strengthen the synapses involved in forming that memory. By measuring LTP in the hippocampus, we can determine if the ketogenic diet impacts cognitive ability to form memories. To accomplish this, we bathe coronal slices from a rodent's brain that include the hippocampus in a solution containing BHB. Electrodes are placed in the ventral region of the hippocampus of the slice to induce a current to stimulate and measure LTP. Our objective is to illustrate that the ketogenic diet has measurable cognitive effects on our ability to form and consolidate memories. Understanding the cognitive effects on memory the ketogenic diet inflicts could potentially sway the dietary choices of about 5% of Americans. Additionally, if we discover that the ketogenic diet enhances LTP, further testing can determine if it could potentially become a treatment modality for neurological disorders that arise from diminished LTP or weakening of synapses, such as Alzheimer's Disease. [1] Batch, Jennifer T, et al. ""Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet: A Review Article."" Cureus, Cureus, 10 Aug. 2020,
[2] Purves D, Augustine GJ, Fitzpatrick D, et al., editors. Neuroscience. 2nd edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2001. Long-Term Synaptic Potentiation. Available from:
[3] Yazdi, Puya. ""Long-Term Potentiation: Importance & 17 Ways to Increase It."" SelfHacked, SelfHacked, 15 May 2020,
University / Institution: Brigham Young University
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: Jeff Edwards
Location: Union Building, EAST BALLROOM (3:50pm)