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Evidence A High-Fat Diet Works To Treat Epilepsy

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  • Evidence A High-Fat Diet Works To Treat Epilepsy

    By ALIYAH BARUCHIN
    Published: May 6, 2008

    A formerly controversial high-fat diet has proved highly effective in reducing seizures in children whose epilepsy does not respond to medication, British researchers say.

    As the first randomized trial of the diet, the new study lends legitimacy to a treatment that has been used since the 1920s but has until recently been dismissed by many doctors as a marginal alternative therapy.

    “This is the first time that we’ve really got Class 1 evidence that this diet works for treatment of epilepsy,” said Dr. J. Helen Cross, professor of pediatric neurology at University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital. She is a principal investigator on the study, which will appear in the June issue of The Lancet Neurology.

    Though its exact mechanism is uncertain, the diet appears to work by throwing the body into ketosis, forcing it to burn fat rather than sugar for energy. Breakfast on the diet might consist of bacon, eggs with cheese, and a cup of heavy cream diluted with water; some children drink oil to obtain the fats that they need. Every gram of food is weighed, and carbohydrates are almost entirely restricted. Breaking the diet with so much as a few cookies can cause seizures to flare up.

    For the British trial, the researchers enrolled 145 children ages 2 to 16 who had never tried the diet, who were having at least seven seizures a week and who had failed to respond to at least two anticonvulsant drugs.

    One group began the ketogenic diet immediately. The control group waited three months before starting it. In the first group, 38 percent of the children had seizure rates reduced by half, compared with 6 percent in the control group. Five children in the diet group had reductions exceeding 90 percent.

    Perceptions of the diet have changed sharply in the last decade. In 1993, a Hollywood producer, Jim Abrahams, took his 1-year-old son, Charlie, to Dr. John M. Freeman at the Pediatric Epilepsy Center at Johns Hopkins, which was one of the few centers championing the diet. Within three days of starting the diet, Charlie’s incapacitating seizures, which had resisted multiple medications and surgery, stopped entirely.

    With his wife, Nancy, Mr. Abrahams founded the Charlie Foundation to Help Cure Pediatric Epilepsy to promote education about the diet. He produced an instructional video for parents and a made-for-television movie, “First Do No Harm,” starring Meryl Streep as a mother who seeks out the diet for her child.

    As a result of the Johns Hopkins work, research on the diet blossomed and it became a standard treatment at hospitals and epilepsy centers in the United States and abroad.

    Dr. Shlomo Shinnar, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Management Center at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, called the new study “an important trial that lays to rest the issue of ‘Does it really work or not?’ ”

    Although the diet has to be medically supervised, Dr. Shinnar said, it is a mistake to believe that it requires extensive hospital resources and a staff’s constant attention. “Here they don’t have this,” he said of the British trial. “This study makes it clear that this actually can be made to work in a community setting.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/06/he...th&oref=slogin

  • #2
    Re: Evidence A High-Fat Diet Works To Treat Epilepsy

    side effects: heart attacks

    right?

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    • #3
      Re: Evidence A High-Fat Diet Works To Treat Epilepsy

      My son has tried the Keto Diet twice in his short life, in order to control his seizures. He didn't have success with it. Not because it didn't work, we did see a reduction in the frequency and severity, but because the diet is very difficult to follow. Everything, including liquids for most kids, has to be weighed out to the gram. Any deviation could cause seizures. The reason being, the diet becomes the medicine for the child, although my son was still on at least one med during each attempt.

      Originally posted by Phoenix CG
      side effects: heart attacks

      right?
      No, because they are children, cholesterol and heart issues are not a problem for most kids.
      “Fear your sins more than you fear the enemy as your sins are more dangerous to you than your enemy. We Muslims are only victorious over our enemy because their sins outnumber ours, not for any other reason. If our sins were equal to those of our enemy, then they would defeat us due to their superior numbers and resources.”
      ~ Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA)

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      • #4
        Re: Evidence A High-Fat Diet Works To Treat Epilepsy

        No doubt high fat diet effects them in later life and increases risk of heart attacks, I don't mean immediate side effects, this comes in later life.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Evidence A High-Fat Diet Works To Treat Epilepsy

          Originally posted by Phoenix CG View Post
          No doubt high fat diet effects them in later life and increases risk of heart attacks, I don't mean immediate side effects, this comes in later life.
          This is by no means a "new" diet. It has been thoroughly researched since it started coming into use back in the 1920's. It fell out of use for some years until the Japanese started to see very good results about 20+ years ago. The pre-eminent hospital, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD, has been following their "children" into adulthood with very little risk effect.
          “Fear your sins more than you fear the enemy as your sins are more dangerous to you than your enemy. We Muslims are only victorious over our enemy because their sins outnumber ours, not for any other reason. If our sins were equal to those of our enemy, then they would defeat us due to their superior numbers and resources.”
          ~ Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Evidence A High-Fat Diet Works To Treat Epilepsy

            oh well i guess that's alright then, cas normally you see those pics of them carrying on a high fat/unhealthy diet etc etc, you know them shows on tv.

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            • #7
              Re: Evidence A High-Fat Diet Works To Treat Epilepsy

              Originally posted by Phoenix CG View Post
              oh well i guess that's alright then, cas normally you see those pics of them carrying on a high fat/unhealthy diet etc etc, you know them shows on tv.
              I completely agree with you about those kids. There is a big difference when those kids are simply eating junk and are not active, etc. The difference with the diet is that the fat is being used by the body to keep the kids in the state of ketosis. Yes, my son gained some weight on the diet, but that is why all kids not only work with their epileptologists, but they work even closer with special dieticians who closely monitor the diet plans and blood workups. If my son wasn't going through it, the whole diet plan, including history of the diet, would be facinating. Example: the diet came to be by reading historical "medical records" where nomadic people with seizures (or whatever it was called over 1500-2000 years ago) had fewer seizures when travelling and on somewhat of a fast, than when they were in camp for a time.
              “Fear your sins more than you fear the enemy as your sins are more dangerous to you than your enemy. We Muslims are only victorious over our enemy because their sins outnumber ours, not for any other reason. If our sins were equal to those of our enemy, then they would defeat us due to their superior numbers and resources.”
              ~ Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA)

              Comment

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