February 01, 2008
A modified version of a popular, low-carbohydrate high-fat diet may be as effective at controlling seizures as the more restrictive ketogenic diet, Children’s Center researchers report in the February issue of Epilepsia. In the small study of 20 children placed on a controlled, medically supervised modified Atkins diet, two-thirds of them benefited. Many were able to reduce medications as well.
On both diets, the human body produces ketones, a chemical byproduct of fat that may inhibit seizures. The Atkins diet, however, does not require the ketogenic diet's exquisitely precise measurement of foods and liquids. “The study suggests that for some children, we need not be so restrictive in allowing protein, weighing foods and counting calories,” says the lead author, pediatric neurologist Eric Kossoff.
Kossoff is leading a follow-up study to determine whether an even less restrictive version of Atkins might be equally effective in children between the ages of 3 and 18. For more information, call 410-614-6054.