Log In

Forgot Password?


Not a member? Continue as a nonmember.

Become a Member

By becoming a member of the AAN, you can receive exclusive information to help you at every stage of your career. Benefits include:

Join Now See All Benefits

Loading... please wait

Abstract Details

The Fasting for Brain and Heart Health Study: Preliminary results
Cerebrovascular Disease and Interventional Neurology
P6 - Poster Session 6 (12:00 PM-1:00 PM)

Periodic medically supervised water-only fasting is the abstention from all oral intake except water for a time limited period. Previous evidence suggests periodic water-only fasting may induce beneficial physiological changes and thus requires further investigation.

To examine the effects of prolonged water-only fasting on cardiovascular and metabolic biomarkers in human subjects. 

The Fasting for Brain Heart and Health is a prospective, open label pilot study enrolling thirty overweight, non-diabetic participants electively undergoing a medically supervised water-only fast lasting between 10-40 days at a non-profit health center. Study endpoints were paired mean change in BMI, resting blood pressure, abdominal circumference, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), lipid profile, and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) at three time points including baseline, end of fast, and end of refeeding. Fasting protocol feasibility and adverse event reporting were safety endpoints. The protocol was approved by the local investigational review board.

At 6 months of enrollment, 526 patients were screened for eligibility. 68 patients expressed interest of which 22 patients were enrolled. Eleven (3 male, 11 female) of 22 participants completed the intervention as described in the study protocol. Six of 11 participants required acaloric broth during the water only fast. Mean fast duration was 17 days (SD 6.5), mean refeed duration was 7 days (SD 2.8). Low density lipoprotein (LDL) decreased by 31mg/dL (SD 20mg/dL, p<0.005). HOMA-IR increased after refeed (2.0 v 4.4, p=0.002). hs-CRP increased during fast and decreased from baseline to refeed (4.05 v 2.33 p=0.054). No serious adverse events occurred.
Tolerance of water only fasting limited protocol completion. Transient elevations in C-reactive protein during fast require further investigation. Fasting induced favorable effect on LDL. Prolonged fasting induced glucose intolerance. Mechanistic studies and long-term follow up are needed to examine the potential of prolonged fasting as periodic behavioral health maintenance activity.
Eugene L. Scharf, MD (Mayo Clinic)
The institution of Dr. Scharf has received research support from American Brain Foundation. The institution of Dr. Scharf has received research support from NIH. Dr. Scharf has received personal compensation in the range of $500-$4,999 for serving as a Presenter with Grand Rounds. Dr. Scharf has a non-compensated relationship as a Steering committee with Johnson and Johnson that is relevant to AAN interests or activities.
Toshia Myers Toshia Myers has received personal compensation for serving as an employee of TrueNorth Health Foundation.
Su-Yeon Hwang No disclosure on file
Patricia Kolbe No disclosure on file