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Using Dietary Treatments for Adults

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Information correct as of January 2010.

The following information is from our friends at The Charlie Foundation


Frequently asked questions about diet therapy for adults with epilepsy


Can the ketogenic diet be an effective therapy for adults?

The diet can work for adults. A study in 1930 at the Mayo Clinic included 100 adults, of 16 to 51 years of age. Fifty-six percent had a >50% response and 12% became seizure-free. In1999 another adult study which included 20 adults ranging in age from 19 to 45 years was conducted through the Mayo Clinic. At 8 months, 6 had a >50% seizure reduction and 3 had a >90% improvement, similar to studies of children.

Is the Modified Atkins diet effective for adults?

In 2008, Eric Kossoff, M.D. and colleagues from Johns Hopkins published their results from treating thirty adults, with ages ranging from 18 to 53 years on the Modified Atkins diet.  Forty seven percent had a >50% seizure reduction after 1 and 3 months on the diet and 33% had >50% reduction after 6 months. Ten subjects (30%) discontinued the diet prior to 3 months. The side effects of the diet included increased cholesterol (mean 187 to 201mg/dL), blood urea nitrogen (BUN; 13 to 16 mg/dL), and urine calcium to creatinine ratio (0.14 to 0.19). They concluded that a “modified Atkins diet appears to demonstrate preliminary efficacy for adults with intractable epilepsy, especially in those who lost weight”.

The situation in the United Kingdom:

At the time of writing there are only a few adults on the Modified Atkins Diet within the UK.  We do have our own Adult Dietitian, Sue Wood who is treating patients but her numbers are extremely limited at the moment.

We are working towards making the Modified Atkins and Low Glycemic Index Treatment more available in the UK by working with Adult Neurologists and Dietitians and we will be offering these treatments to adults once the Matthew’s Friends Centre is opened (planned for 2011).  In the meantime, any adults that are interested in these treatments should contact us and we will try to point you in the right direction as far as centres that WILL offer this treatment at this time.

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YOU MUST consult your own medical Keto Team before making ANY changes to your childs treatment,
Matthews Friends cannot be held responsible if you do not heed this warning.
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