Tags: ketogenic | diet | fast | epilepsy

Epileptic Kids Benefit From Fasting

Tuesday, 11 Dec 2012 10:54 AM


Children with epilepsy who are treated with a high-fat, low-carbohydrate “ketogenic” diet may also benefit from periodic fasting, according to a new Johns Hopkins Children's Center study.
The findings, published online in the journal Epilepsy Research, suggest combining the specialized diet and fasting can reduce seizures in drug-resistant patients.
"Our findings suggest that fasting does not merely intensify the therapeutic effects of the ketogenic diet but may actually represent an entirely new way to change the metabolism of children with epilepsy," said lead researcher Dr. Adam Hartman, a pediatric neurologist at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. "We suspect that fasting affects nerve cells in a completely different manner from the ketogenic diet."
For the study, researchers tracked the effects of fasting on six children — ages 2 to 7 — on the ketogenic diet. The results showed four of the six experienced 50 percent to 99 percent fewer seizures after the fasts were added to their dietary regimen.
While the results are preliminary, the researchers said they provide compelling evidence of the potential benefits of fasting, which may offer an alternative standalone therapy for children with drug-resistant epilepsy.
They added, however, that larger studies are needed to confirm their findings and that fasting should be only done under the strict supervision of a pediatric neurologist.
The ketogenic diet — comprised of high-fat foods and few carbohydrates — is believed to trigger biochemical changes that eliminate seizure-causing short circuits in the brain's signaling system. The diet, popularized in the early 1900s, was designed to mirror the effects of fasting — a seizure-control method that dates to the ancient Greeks
"We don't fully understand the reasons for these marked differences, but unraveling the mechanisms behind them will help pave the way toward new therapies for epilepsy, and is the focus of our ongoing work," said Dr. Eric Kossoff, a pediatric neurologist and director of the ketogenic diet clinic at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.


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Children with epilepsy who are on a high-fat, low-carb 'ketogenic' diet also benefit from periodic fasting.
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Tuesday, 11 Dec 2012 10:54 AM
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