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Friday, August 9 • 10:40am - 11:20am
My case against uricase: a critical examination of hypotheses

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Humans, along with other apes, evolved a series of mutations preventing uricase activity. Uricase breaks down uric acid (UA), and so apes, especially humans, have higher levels of UA than other mammals. There are many hypotheses about the selective advantage of these mutations, including benefits for the brain. However, higher UA levels make us more susceptible to fructose-induced metabolic syndrome, common in the modern food environment, which in turn can cause UA levels to rise pathologically. This is associated with cognitive and psychiatric detriments. Nonetheless, UA levels transiently increase in response to a ketogenic diet, without apparent detriment. Experts differ in their interpretations of this phenomenon. In this presentation, I will review evolutionary theories about uricase, and the interplay between UA, carbohydrate metabolism, and other dietary factors. In addition, I will attempt to disentangle negative effects of UA associated with metabolic syndrome from neuroprotective and cognitive benefits.

avatar for L. Amber O'Hearn

L. Amber O'Hearn

Amber O'Hearn has a diverse scientific background with publications in mathematics, theoretical computer science, linguistics, psychology, and more recently nutrition. Her current focus of study revolves around the role of nutrition in the development of the human brain.

Friday August 9, 2019 10:40am - 11:20am PDT
West Ballroom B