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Ketogenic Diet May Reduce Seizures in Epileptic Children

Study results support its use in children with treatment-intractable epilepsy

MONDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- A ketogenic diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates reduces seizures in epileptic children with daily seizures who have failed other treatments, according to research published online May 3 in The Lancet Neurology.

Elizabeth G. Neal, Ph.D., from University College London in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed data from 103 epileptic children with daily seizures who had failed to respond to other drugs and who had been randomly assigned to a ketogenic diet or no change. The group assignment was not blinded to the family or investigators.

After three months, the researchers found a significant reduction in the mean percentage of baseline seizures in children on the ketogenic diet (62 percent versus 136.9 percent). There was a greater than 50 percent reduction in seizures in significantly more children in the ketogenic diet group (38 percent versus 6 percent). Treatment efficacy was similar in children with symptomatic generalized or symptomatic focal syndromes. The most frequent side effects were constipation, vomiting, lack of energy and hunger.

"The results from this trial of the ketogenic diet support its use in children with treatment-intractable epilepsy," Neal and colleagues conclude.

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