High-fat diet cuts seizures in children by up to 90 per cent

Children with epilepsy should have better NHS access to a special diet proven to prevent seizures, say UK researchers.

The call comes after the first randomised trial into the ketogenic diet showed it cut seizure rate by 50-90 per cent in children with poorly controlled epilepsy.

The ketogenic diet has been used to control drug-resistant epilepsy since the 1920s, but doubt over its value remains. 

It is managed by a dietician and has a high-fat, low-carbohydrate content to boost production of ketone bodies, rather than sugar, to fuel the brain. The diet could include cream, cheese, avocados and nuts.

The latest study involved almost 150 children , aged two to 16 years. They all had severe epilepsy, suffering a fit daily, and had failed to respond to at least two antiepileptic drugs. 

Half were randomised immediately to the ketogenic diet but the therapy was delayed for three months in the other half.

Complete data was available for 54 children in the diet group and 49 controls. 

Compared with baseline, 38 per cent fewer seizures were recorded in the diet group.

But 37 per cent more fits noted in controls. 

Seizure rate was halved in 38 per cent of the diet group, compared with just 6 per cent of controls. Further, 7 per cent in the diet group had a 90 per cent fall in seizures.


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