Modifying diet may be a way to manage difficult to treat epilepsy

a man having epileptic seizures

Epilepsy is a common disorder of the nervous system wherein the nerve cells present in the brain function abnormally. According to the statistics provided by the World Health Organization, about 50 million people suffer from this condition worldwide. Around 35% of thes patients of epilepsy do not respond to medications and require newer forms of treatment. A research published in the recent issue of Neurology, a journal of the American Academy of Neurology, has found that modifying the diet may help in managing these difficult to treat cases of epilepsy. According to the research, a diet rich in fats and low on carbohydrates may reduce the number of seizures in such cases.

According to the study author Pavel Klein, who is from the Mid-Atlantic Epilepsy and Sleep Center in Bethesda and is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology, a ketogenic diet or modified Atkins diet can be useful in reducing seizures. This diet has already been found beneficial in children. However, before the present study, the usefulness of this diet was not tested in adults.

The ketogenic or modified Atkins diet includes bacon, fish, leafy green vegetables, heavy cream and eggs. The ratio of fat to protein/carbohydrates is 3:1 by weight in ketogenic diet while it is 1:1 in case of modified Atkins diet. The researchers reviewed 5 earlier studies which were done on ketogenic diet and included 47 people. They also reviewed 5 studies done on modified Atkins diet and included 85 people.

It was seen that there was a 50% or even better reduction in the number of seizures in 32% people who were treated with ketogenic diet and in 29% of people treated with modified Atkins diet. In fact, there was a greater than 90% reduction in the number of seizures in 9% of the people on ketogenic diet and 5% of people on the modified Atkins diet. The reduction in the number of seizures was seen almost immediately after the change in diet and lasted as long as the dietary changes were maintained. The results obtained in the study have enthralled physicians around the world. Modifying the diet seems to be an effective way to manage difficult to treat epilepsy cases.

Reference:

·         http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2014/10/29/WNL.0000000000001004

Date: 
Friday, November 14, 2014