2015 Student Research Conference:
28th Annual Student Research Conference

Whey Cool: Drosophila melanogaster courtship behavior provides insight into possible epilepsy treatment
Chelsea Rickman
Dr. Timothy D. Walston, Faculty Mentor

Over 150,000 individuals are diagnosed with epilepsy each year, epilepsy ranks as the fourth most common neurological problem in the United States. Dietary treatment of epilepsy is implemented when an individual does not respond to medication alone. Ketogenic diets are special high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets that carefully regulate the ratio of fat to carbohydrate and protein. The diet is extremely limiting and not typically prescribed for adults. Feasible dietary alternatives would create more flexibility for treatment of individuals with epilepsy. The courtship song parameters of cacophony, shudderer, and DopEcR mutant strains of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, have been associated with epilepsy-like symptoms. This study investigated if a whey diet rescued those behaviors in hopes of identifying novel treatment options for individuals affected by epilepsy. A whey diet induces significant changes in certain parameters of the courtship behavior in mutants, implicating future treatment possibilities.

Keywords: courtship behavior, epilepsy, diet

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 3-8
Location: GEO-SUB
Time: 3:30

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