From Galapagos to the labs: Darwinian medicine and epilepsy today

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Epilepsy and Behavior
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Scorza F.A.
Cysneiros R.M.
Terra V.C.
Arida R.M.
Scorza C.A.
Cavalheiro E.A.
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In 1991, a mummy frozen in ice was found by climbers in the Tyrolean Alps. Otzi the Iceman has since been studied in the light of evolutionary explanations for diseases. This year, which marks Charles Darwin's 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of his publication On the Origin of Species, should re-ignite discussion of the importance of the correlation between nutritional diet and diseases. Epilepsy is one of the commonest diseases in the world. Individuals with epilepsy are at higher risk of death than the general population, and sudden unexpected death (SUDEP) is the most important direct epilepsy-related cause of death. A number of factors may influence the risk for SUDEP. Along these lines, several studies have demonstrated that polyunsaturated (omega-3) fatty acids may reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality, and diminish neuronal excitability. Also, omega-3 fatty acids may decrease seizure frequency, contributing to the reduction of SUDEP risk. Reconstruction of the nutritional patterns of Stone Age humans and optimal human nutrition in the present may be relevant to the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases such as epilepsy and the catastrophic evolution into epilepsy refractoriness and SUDEP. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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