Neurologists call for wider-use of ketogenic diet

Posted Nov 19 2010 in Other treatments

Two neurologists have called for the wide-spread use of the high-fat ketogenic diet as a treatment for epilepsy. reports that paediatric neurologists John Freeman and Eric Kossoff of Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Children's Centre claimed the diet is misunderstood by many healthcare professionals.

"Several persistent myths and half-truths seem to discourage both doctors and patients from trying a diet that, in many children, is more effective than medication and has fewer cognitive side effects," Mr Freeman, professor emeritus of paediatrics and neurology at the institution, wrote in the journal Advances in Pediatrics.

The ketogenic diet was first introduced in 1921 and was used to treat epilepsy in patients who failed to respond to traditional medication.

Those affected with the condition are given a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet which can help reduce seizures by improving communication between brain cells.

Many doctors have criticised its use in young children as it can cause weight-gain and build up fatty deposits in the arteries – claims which are disputed by the report authors. 

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