The Effect of a Ketogentic Diet to Manage Neuropathic Pain in Spinal Cord Injury


Spinal cord injury is generally treated with physical therapy but can be associated with neuropathic pain and limited the desire of a patient to pursue physical therapy. While this is usually managed with opioid drugs, a ketogenic diet might offer a natural alternative to managing neuropathic pain and reducing this barrier to physical therapy. This study seeks to evaluate whether a ketogenic diet will alleviate pain in an animal model of spinal cord injury and see if the diet has any additional direct benefit to spinal cord injury.

The Scientists

Kyle Mayr, MS Student

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Principal Investigator:

Dr. Patrick Whelan

University of Calgary

Dr. Whelan's Website


Despite prior research suggesting the ketogenic diet's efficacy on several neurological conditions (such as epilepsy and Parkinson's Disease), this study did not find support for its use as a treatment in spinal cord injury. While this may seem disappointing, learning what neuroCAM treatments do not work is just as important as establishing those that do. Regardless, this study was published in a leading journal, highlighting the high-quality of the scientific methods used to arrive at these conclusions and refine our understanding of how the ketogenic diet impacts the functioning of our nervous system. 

This project has been published! Check out the peer-reviewed manuscript!




Amount Funded: $44,000


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