For those diagnosed with epilepsy, finding just the right treatment to calm seizure activity is the ultimate goal. Many experience seizure reduction with drug therapy, but some require alternate treatment methods whether it's surgery or a special diet. The ketogenic diet is one such diet that has proven to be effective in many patients with epilepsy.
At Le Bonheur, the ketogenic diet is sometimes recommended for patients who aren't seeing the relief they need with medicine or for patients whose prescribed drug therapy leaves them feeling tired and lethargic. The diet is managed by clinical dietitians who are trained in this special diet, which calls for a certain ratio of fats to carbohydrates and protein in each meal. Meals are typically high in fat and low in carbohydrates, and sweets must be eliminated from the patient's diet. The diet is believed to produce ketones, which act on the brain's metabolism, changing its energy state and reducing seizure activity.
According to The Charlie Foundation, an organization established to raise awareness about the ketogenic diet treatment, 50-75 percent of children with unmanageable seizures of all types are helped by the diet.
Read about one Le Bonheur patient, 6-year-old Karlie Earhart, who was helped by the ketogenic diet. Karlie was declared seizure free after following the diet for 15 months.