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This article was published in July 2014. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

Ketogenic diet: treatment for Lennox-Gastaut

17 Jul 2014

A new study from Argentina has explored the use of the ketogenic diet in treating Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). The findings are impressive – showing that the diet is an effective treatment option

The study identified a total of 61 children who were diagnosed with LGS in an Argentinian neurology department between 1990 and 2013.

Twenty of them were selected for the study. These children included those with cryptogenic LGS (without a known cause) and structural LGS (resulting from a brain malformation).

The 20 study participants were then placed on the ketogenic diet and followed for at least 16 months.

A ketogenic mealAfter follow-up, 15 of the 20 children had stayed with the diet. Three children had become completely seizure-free. Three more had seen a reduction in seizure frequency of between 75 and 99 per cent.

Two of the children had had a reduction in seizure frequency of between 50 and 74 per cent. The other seven had a reduction in seizures of less than 50 per cent.

In the children who became seizure-free, all three could be slowly taken off the diet and remained seizure-free. The children who had seen a 75 to 99 per cent decrease in seizures were able to reduce their medicines.

A ketogenic mealThe study findings support the ketogenic diet as an effective treatment for LGS. More research is necessary to confirm these findings in a larger number of children. The full study findings were published inn the scientific journal Seizure.

Emma Williams MBE is the founder of the ketogenic diet charity, Matthew’s Friends. Emma said: “In an ideal world, ketogenic therapy should be considered for all children whose seizures fail to respond to the first two appropriate medications. The longer any child waits for effective seizure management, the higher their risk of long-term impairments in all aspects of life.

“This report will strengthen the case for those with LGS seeking early ketogenic therapy. The benefits of dietary therapy to those with LGS is something we have witnessed over the past 10 years in NHS ketogenic services around the UK as well as in our own clinic. This report is not a great surprise to us, but is very much welcomed.”

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