Ketogenic diet helps boy with epilepsy

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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The ketogenic diet has been used to control seizures and can work for some individuals. The diet consists of a specific ratio of 3 to 4 grams of fat for every 1 gram of carbohydrate and protein, but does not raise cholesterol levels. The ketogenic diet has been useful for controlling focal seizures in children, and recently helped a four year old boy enjoy better quality of life by reducing the number of seizures he was experiencing - up to 100 a day one year ago.

According to the epilepsy foundation, "Doctors don't know precisely why a diet that mimics starvation by burning fat for energy should prevent seizures, although this is being studied. Nor do they know why the same diet works for some children and not for others."

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The ketogenic diet provides the body with most of its energy from fat, while the rest comes from smaller amounts of carbohydrates and protein.

A ketogenic diet to control epilepsy is considered when medications fail, and is initiated under strict medical guidance and monitoring. It begins with a 24 hour fast. Max Irvine whose epilepsy was treated at the Mayo Clinic with a ketogenic diet responded well and is now transitioning back to a normal diet. His improvement was documented by EEG (electroencephalogram) that measures brain waves. He is reportedly taking no medications and the boy is now seizure free.

Scientists believe a ketogenic diet changes the way the brain handles glutamic acid, and amino acid that has antiseizure properties. The Charlie Foundation, founded in 1994, offers stories of children whose epilepsy was helped with a ketogenic diet that has been around for about 70 years. The site also offers support to parents of children with epilepsy.

Resources:
Epilepsy Foundation: Treatment Options: Ketogenic Diet
DOI: 10.1080/02699050902788469
http://wcco.com/health/high.fat.diet.2.1436243.html
doi:10.1146/annurev.nutr.27.061406.093722
http://www.our-kids.org/Archives/Ketogenic_diet_FAQ.html

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