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Meet Our Kids 2007-2009

Carson and the Ketogenic Diet


Carson Harris during treatment

Carson Harris, Glen Arm, MD

Carson started having seizures in 2007 when she was 5 months old. After a particularly scary seizure and a subsequent trip to Hopkins Children’s, Carson was diagnosed with a form of epilepsy called infantile spasms. After the diagnosis, Carson and her family faced two choices: daily medication or the ketogenic diet. Having two options was a true blessing since most hospitals only give patients one—drugs, which can have particularly unpleasant side effects. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, complicated diet that in some patients has been shown to reduce or completely stop epileptic seizures. It works by mimicking starvation and Hopkins Children’s doctors are currently studying the exact mechanisms behind the diet’s effect on epileptic seizures.

Dr. Eric Kossoff, a pediatric neurologist at Hopkins Children’s, and one of the world’s top researchers into the ketogenic diet, believed Carson was a good candidate. Hopkins Children’s specializes in this treatment, one of only a few institutions worldwide to offer it. After Carson was put on this very restrictive diet, she went from having four to five seizures a day to none at all within months.

“We’re unbelievably lucky to live near Hopkins,” says Carson’s father, Mike. “It’s been nothing short of a miracle.”

In fact, according to Dr. Kossoff, Carson has been one of the most successful cases treated with the diet so far. Carson was slowly weaned off the diet. Her overall development, which had almost arrested during the seizure, resumed as a result of the treatment and she has caught up in her development.

Carson's mom and dad talked about their daughter's illness and recovery during 2008's Radiothon.