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The ketogenic diet in children with epilepsy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2007

D. Papandreou*
Affiliation:
2nd Pediatric Clinic, Medical School of Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki, Greece
E. Pavlou
Affiliation:
2 Neurology Department, 2nd Pediatric Clinic, Medical School of Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki, Greece
E. Kalimeri
Affiliation:
Nutrition Department, General Hospital of Kozani, Greece
I. Mavromichalis
Affiliation:
2nd Pediatric Clinic, Medical School of Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki, Greece
*
*Corresponding author: Dr D. Papandreou, fax +302310-230000, email vellada@otenet.gr
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Abstract

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Children with epilepsy, especially those facing intractable seizures, experience a great impact on the quality of their lives. Effective treatment is essential, and although new anti-epileptic drugs have shown an improved profile of action, still a substantial number of children look for more efficacious ways of treatment that are far away from potential toxicity and ineffectiveness. The ketogenic diet is a dietary therapy for epileptic children based on manipulation of metabolism principles and brain energetics. This regimen aims to produce a controlled ketonaemia through excessive dietary fat intake, little carbohydrates and adequate (for growth) protein. The present paper is a review of previous and current papers regarding the proposed mechanisms of the ketogenic diet’s action, and the efficacy of the regimen on epileptic children. Unfortunately, a few small studies in sample size and duration tried to evaluate the potential risks of this regimen and their results were rather inconclusive. Further research needs to be done in order for the exact mechanism of the ketogenic diet to be clarified which will help to improve the diet’s application, especially for vulnerable epileptic children as far as their growth is concerned.

Type
Review article
Copyright
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2006

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