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Epilepsia. 2007 Jan;48(1):82-8.

Safe and effective use of the ketogenic diet in children with epilepsy and mitochondrial respiratory chain complex defects.

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Department of Pediatrics and Epilepsy Center, Sanggye Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



To evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of the ketogenic diet (KD) for patients with intractable childhood epilepsy and mitochondrial respiratory chain (RC) complex defects.


A retrospective analysis evaluated outcomes in 14 children with intractable epilepsy and RC complex defects who were treated with the classic KD involving a 4:1 lipid to nonlipid ratio (% by weight), but without an initial fast and fluid restriction. Outcome measures included seizure frequency, electroencephalography (EEG) findings, the number of antiepileptic drugs, and adverse reactions.


Of the 14 patients, 9 had Complex I defects, 1 had a Complex II defect, 3 had Complex IV defects, and 1 had combined Complex I and IV defects. Two patients with Complex IV defects showed clinical progress compatible with the Leigh disease. The epileptic diagnoses were as follows: 5 patients were diagnosed with infantile spasms, 4 with the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, 1 with the Landau-Kleffner syndrome, 1 with nonspecific generalized seizure disorder, and 3 with partial seizure disorder. The study found that 7 patients became seizure-free after commencing the KD, three of whom successfully completed the diet without relapse. One patient with a greater than 90% seizure reduction, and 2 patients with seizure reductions between 50% and 90%, remained on the diet. Four patients, including two diagnosed with the Leigh disease, did not show any favorable responses to the diet or ceased the diet due to complications.


The KD was a safe and effective therapy for seizures in children with intractable epilepsy and RC complex defects.

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