Can cutting out carbs treat epilepsy? The ketogenic diet as a drug

epilepsy and ketogenic diet koreys story x
9-year-old Korey Walton eats a ketogenic diet to treat his epilepsy. Credit: CHOP

The ketogenic diet has actually been used in the treatment of epilepsy since the 1920s.

It had been known that patients often had significantly fewer seizures if they lived on a very strict diet, where up to 90 per cent of calories came from fat and carbohydrate intake was less than 20 grams a day.

This is why researchers and therapists have brought back the old diet regimen. In 2008, the journal The Lancet Neurology published a ground-breaking study of children whose severe epilepsy couldn’t be controlled with medication.

“The study showed that the ketogenic diet had a much better effect than continuing with treatment as normal,” says [nutritionist Magnhild] Kverneland.

Dietary changes can seem mundane, because they concern food and are something we can do on our own. But it may be more appropriate to think of the ketogenic diet as a drug.

Related article:  Podcast: Exactly how does the brain do something as simple as storing a phone number?

It’s a treatment that has medical effects. But it can be very demanding to follow. In addition, the diet can have side effects that in the worst case can be dangerous.

For example, it is known that the ketogenic diet can cause digestive problems.

Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

When patients in Norway try the diet, they receive thorough guidance and follow-up.

“We take blood tests and monitor the effects and side effects,” [Kverneland] said. “Some see a truly amazing effect. Then everyone is happy. But the response is different from patient to patient.”

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend