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Can a Modified Ketogenic Diet Reduce Seizures?

Epilepsy Behav; ePub 2019 Mar 10; Roehl, et al

Modified ketogenic diet (MKD) therapies reduce seizure frequency and severity and improve quality of life (QOL) among adults with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) with few side effects outside of weight loss, a desired outcome among many adults with DRE, according to a recent study. Changes in seizure frequency, severity, QOL, and side effects were retrospectively examined among adults, aged ≥17 years, with DRE (≥2 antiepileptic drugs [AEDs]), after 3 months of MKD therapy. Attention was paid to medication or vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) changes as well to evaluate potential confounders. They found:

  • A total of 60% (n=33) of the 55 individuals reported ≥50% seizure frequency improvement, 42 (76%) reported improvement in seizure severity, and 48 (87%) reported improvement in QOL.
  • More patients following a modified ketogenic diet—15 g net carbohydrate daily (MKD-15) (95%) compared with a MKD-50 (69%)—reported improvement in QOL.
  • Weight among the entire sample declined from 77.5 (20) kg to 73.9 (19.0) kg.

Roehl K, Falco-Walter J, Ouyang B, Balabanov A. Modified ketogenic diets in adults with refractory epilepsy: Efficacious improvements in seizure frequency, seizure severity, and quality of life. [Published online ahead of print March 10, 2019]. Epilepsy Behav. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2018.12.010.