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J Am Diet Assoc. 2002 Mar;102(3):396-8.

Medical costs are reduced when children with intractable epilepsy are successfully treated with the ketogenic diet.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn, USA.


The ketogenic diet is used for children with drug refractory epilepsies. Although this diet was developed early in the 20th century, its use was infrequent until recently. One of the concerns about the ketogenic diet is the cost of initiating the diet. The process generally involves an inpatient visit that can last several days. In this study, the health care costs for 15 children with drug refractory epilepsy who received their care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center were compared for the period of time 6 to 12 months before they began the ketogenic diet and 6 to 12 months after they began the ketogenic diet. All comparisons within each child were done on the same amount of time before and after initiation of the diet. Total costs affiliated with care for the 15 children were: $352,820.20 for the prediet period, $41,221.91 for the diet initiation, and $149,436.86 for the postdiet-initiation period. We conclude that successful maintenance on the ketogenic diet provides a substantial financial benefit.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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