The ketogenic diet, the high fat, adequate protein, low carbohydrate diet that has helped some children with difficult to control epilepsy may be of use, in a modified form, to adults whose seizures are uncontrolled.
Researchers from the University of Buenos Aires prescribed a modified form of the diet to eight adults with epilepsy, using a three parts fat to one part carbohydrate/protein diet and not the usual 4:1 ratio of the children's ketogenic diet.
The study showed that after six months to two years of follow up, 50 per cent of the patients showed at least a 50 per cent reduction in the number of seizures that occurred. However, the most significant side-effect was a rise in total cholesterol levels ranging from 15-88 per cent.
When asked why the diet worked, report co-author Dr Silvia Kochen said:
"Nobody knows. There are only hypotheses. We do not know how long patients should keep on the diet in order to achieve a long-lasting benefit"
Patients were warned that no attempt should be made to change their diet without medical supervision.