Energy/Glucose Metabolism in Neurodegenerative Diseases

  • John P. Blass
Part of the Contemporary Neuroscience book series (CNEURO)


That disorders in energy/glucose metabolism can cause neurological and psychiatric disorders has been known for over a century. After the work of Claude Bernard on the importance of glucose metabolism, the German-speaking neurologists, psychiatrists, and pathologists (“alienists”) recognized on neuropathological grounds that impairing the supply of glucose and oxygen to the brain could cause a variety of neurological syndromes (1,2). That impairments of energy/glucose metabolism were important causes of diseases of the brain remained conventional wisdom through the 1950s. Among the evidence in support of this view were:
  1. 1.

    Extensive studies in aviation medicine, documenting the sensitivity of higher brain functions to reductions in oxygen tension (3);

  2. 2.

    The widespread use of hypoglycemic (insulin) shock therapy in the treatment of psychoses; and

  3. 3.

    The recognition from even early neurochemical studies that (a) mammalian brain has a second-to-second dependence on glucose/energy metabolism to maintain function, and (b) impairments of cerebral glucose/energy metabolism typically impair brain function.



Spinocerebellar Ataxia Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex Cerebral Glucose Metabolism Culture Skin Fibroblast Friedreich Ataxia 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

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  • John P. Blass

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