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Ketogenic diet may help in adults with difficult-to-control epilepsy

22 Oct 2002

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.