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Monday, November 29, 2010

Epilepsy Controlled with a Low-Carb Diet

My husband found this article in the NY Times.  It is truly amazing that the little boy, Sam, who had about 130 seizures a day has gained significant control over his epilepsy through an extreme high fat (90%) low-carb diet supplemented with vitamins and magnesium and calcium.  His parents have to be cruel to be kind when it comes to denying the child tempting high-carb, sugary goodies that any young child is often faced with.  It is very difficult for Sam and sometimes the food fights end in a tantrum and tears.

Laura Dolsen told this fascinating, miracle story with regards to finding the same article in the NY Times:

"About 17 or so years ago on an Internet parenting group I was part of, there was a mom who's baby daughter had a terrible illness called Infantile Spasms, which caused dozens of seizures per day. She was told that her daughter would almost inevitably become seriously brain-damaged. After trying many standard treatments, the mom delved into the research and came across a crazy diet called the Ketogenic Diet, which is very high in fat, low in carbs, and lowish in protein. Their pediatrician warned her not to do it and many thought she was nuts, or in denial and grasping at straws. But this mom persisted, convincing a neurologist to give it a try.

It worked. The seizures stopped. Her daughter grew into a happy, healthy child with no signs of brain damage. Obviously, this made a huge impression on me!"

Here is an excerpt that summarizes the diet and its effect on epilepsy:

"But when it comes to keto’s impact on pediatric seizures, there is wide acceptance. There are about two dozen backward-looking analyses of patient data suggesting keto works, and, more significant, two randomized, controlled studies published in 2008. One of the trials, by researchers at University College London, found that 38 percent of patients on the diet had their seizure frequency reduced more than 50 percent and that 7 percent had their seizure frequency reduced more than 90 percent.
Those numbers may look low, but they’re not. These were patients for whom antiepileptic drugs had already failed. For children with certain kinds of drug-resistant seizures, Thiele’s clinical data show an even better response: 7 out of 10 were able to reduce their count more than 90 percent with the diet. Those statistics are as good as those for any antiepileptic drug ever made. Other pediatric neurologists get similar results. The diet has cut Sam’s seizures by 75 percent."


Carolyn said...

Wow, Jennifer, thank you. Truly informative. I will be honest, I would likely not go low carb if I didn't have to control my blood sugars, but every day I learn how much better it is for everyone.

Jennifer said...

This is true. It is very bad to be eating too many refined carbs all the time. Check out the Diabetes Warrior (new listing under my favorite blogs) - very interesting!

I don't know why but everyone has challenges, be they health or whatever. We all have them and sometimes when we look at other people's challenges, we suddenly think ours are not as bad. :) I was just thinking about this today actually and that's why I'm rambling.

Anonymous said...

I have a grown son who's seizures are med controlled. I told him about controlling them with a ketogenic diet years ago but he will not try it. Thanks for getting out this information. Anne

Jennifer said...

Anne, I'm so happy for you both that his seizures are controlled, even if it is with meds. It's so hard on us moms when our children suffer, even when they are grown.

Elena said...

God help you!