Monday, September 26, 2011

Diet offering new hope for epilepsy

Doctors and dieticians at Addenbrooke’s have been treating a group of 30 epileptic children with a semi-starvation diet for the past two years as standard drugs were ineffective.
The high-fat, low-carbohydrate and adequate protein diet is strictly controlled, and it is in this state of semi-starvation that the body produces ketones, which suppress the abnormal brain impulses that cause seizures.
Addenbrooke’s is one of a handful of hospitals in the UK running the diet, which has been approved by national health organisation Nice, following a trial at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
Dr Anna Maw, a consultant pediatric neurologist, said: “If you’re fitting all the time, you can’t learn and can’t recover quickly, so these children lose skills.
“There are a proportion of patients here who have seen a big reduction in seizure frequency and severity. It’s not a miracle cure, it doesn’t work for everybody, but when it actually happens it’s amazing.
“It offers hope for families and we have seen some transformed and that doesn’t happen much in our line of work.”

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