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The Ketogenic Diet - Treatment for childhood epilepsy?

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Does anyone know any details or have any experience about the ketogenic diet.


I have some friends who have a little boy aged seven with severe childhood epilepsy. It appears reasonably controlled by drugs, but the drugs have bad side effects. I met this family over summer when i was working at a play group they brought him to. He is 'normal' but the medication makes him sluggish, his voice gruff, his attention span limited, and his behaviour generally that of a child with special needs. When i commented at playgroup that he seemed very sluggish one day, his dad replied that it was as good as it gets, that they had long since lost hope for the miracle to bring him back to the happy intelligent little boy they once had.

They are starting this child on the ketogenic diet in the next 3months at a hospital in England.


The medical profession seems so against treatments that do not involve barbaric drugs or surgery and repeatedly discredit the ketogenic diet whilst arguing in favour of invasive treatments such as drugs and surgery that could damage a child forever.


The ketogenic diet the best i understand it could provide this miracle the family needs. It involves changing what the child eats for a period of 2-3 years, which makes the body go into a fasting state. The ketogens (fats) which the diet consists of replace carboyhdrates in the childs diet and the body adapts. fasting rests the body and the brain can grow and repair. I read reports from Hopkins and the Mayo clinic, and it seems that whenever a group of the sickest kids have been put on the ketogenic diet, about 1/3rd of them get a miracle. they can come off all the drugs, and they never have another seizure. another 1/3rd are very much improved. the diet is reasonably harmless to try. There are even a couple of UK hospitals v nearby that have units to try the diet.


I cant find anything in the literature that would make Jamie unsuitable. The diet can only be used on young children, typically before adolescents, when the body can still adapt where its energy sources are processed from.


There are risks of side effects - does anyone know what they are?

I know that a child being taken off the drugs could suffer a grand mal seizure and that could cause brain damage, but they wean the children off the drugs very carefully and under strict medical supervision. I also know that there could be stunted growth risks. But that is rare, the diet aims to provide just adequete nutrician, so feeding the child mostly on fats doesn't make them overweight because it prevokes this fasting state, and that is the state that stops the neurological fitting.


Has anyone been on the ketogenic diet here?


girl friend

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  • 6 years later...

Ketogenic diet was designed long time ago around 1924. There are lots of people supporting this treatment as they found it effective. This treatment where no longer practice as there are medications already to treat epilepsy. Commonly I know is gabapentin 300mg. Medications may have side effects but it will always depend upon the person as it is taken with proper procedure and we should also be aware of other drugs or supplements that may interact.

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