- Episode 59: Stephen Cunnane discusses the role of ketones in human evolution and Alzheimer’s
- Nearly five million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease. In 30 years, that number is estimated to be 16 million In today’s episode, Ken and Dawn interview Dr. Stephen Cunnane, a Canadian physiologist whose extensive research into Alzheimer’s disease is showing how ketones can be used as part of a prevention approach that helps delay or slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s. Cunnane is a metabolic physiologist at the University of Sherbrooke in Sherbrooke, Quebec. He is the author of five books, including” Survival of the Fattest: The Key to Human Brain Evolution,” which was published in 2005, and “Human Brain Evolution: Influence of Fresh and Coastal Food Resources,” which was published in 2010. He earned his Ph.D. in Physiology at McGill University in 1980 and did post-doctoral research on nutrition and brain development in Aberdeen, Scotland, London, and Nova Scotia. From 1986 to 2003, he was a faculty member in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto where his research focused on the role of omega-3 fatty acids in brain development and human health. He also did research on the relation between ketones and a high-fat ketogenic diet on brain development. In 2003, Dr. Cunnane was awarded a senior Canada Research Chair at the Research Center on Aging and became a full professor at the University of Sherbrooke. He has published more than 280 peer-reviewed research papers and was elected to the French National Academy of Medicine in 2009. Links: Lower Brain 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose Uptake: Castellano et al AD dPET J Alz Dis 2015 Brain glucose and acetoacetate metabolism: Nugent et al dPET YE Neurobiol Aging 2014 Energetic and nutritional constraints on infant brain development: Cunnane & Crawford J Human Evol 2014 Inverse relationship between brain glucose and ketone metabolism in adults: Courchesne-Loyer et al PET KD JCBFM 2016 A cross-sectional comparison of brain glucose and ketone metabolism in cognitively healthy older adults: Croteau et al. AD MCI CMR Exper Gerontol 2017 A 3-Month Aerobic Training Program Improves Brain Energy Metabolism in Mild Alzheimer’s Disease: Castellano et al. exercise ketones JAD 2017 Show notes: 3:33: Dawn mentions that Stephen was born in London but that his family emigrated to Canada when he was an infant. She asks him about growing up in a suburb of Montreal. 4:02: Ken mentions that he has been told by a reliable source that as soon as Stephen got into high school he spent a lot of time in the chemistry lab, where sometimes created mischief. 4:58: Dawn asks if it is true that Stephen nearly flunked out of college when he first started. 5:16: Dawn comments that Stephen got his PHD in physiology at McGill University which is when his interest in science really caught on and asks how that came about. 5:55: Stephen talks about communicating with Desmond Morris while Stephen was working on his post-doc. 8:03: Dawn asks about Stephen’s post-doctoral research, for which he traveled to Aberdeen London and Nova Scotia; as well as what prompted his interest in nutrition in the brain. 9:01: Dawn mentions that in 1986 Stephen became a faculty member in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto. She asks how he ended up teaching nutrition when he didn’t have a degree in nutrition. 10:33: Stephen talks about accepting a senior Canada Research Chair at the Research Center of Aging and a full professorship at the University of Sherbrooke. 11:57: Ken talks about Stephen’s interest in human evolution how it eventually led him to research the nutritional importance of shore-based foods and omega-3 fatty acid in particular in the development of human’s brains. He asks Stephen to talk about his work leading up to the hypothesis that humans evolved near the water.
- 2018-03-13 06:00:57 UTC