Send to

Choose Destination
JIMD Rep. 2015;15:7-12. doi: 10.1007/8904_2013_292. Epub 2014 Feb 16.

Excellent response to a ketogenic diet in a patient with alternating hemiplegia of childhood.

Author information

AP-HP, Service de Neuropédiatrie, Hôpital Armand Trousseau, 26 avenue du Dr Arnold Netter, 75012, Paris, France,


Alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC) is a rare disorder caused by heterozygous mutations in ATP1A3. AHC is associated with early-onset plegic and tonic/dystonic attacks and permanent neurologic deficits. Attacks tend to persist through life. Flunarizine therapy occasionally reduces the severity, duration and frequency of attacks. A ketogenic diet/modified Atkins diet (KD/MAD) can attenuate paroxysmal movement disorders associated with GLUT1 deficiency syndrome (GLUT1DS), but there are no reports on the effect of KD/MAD in AHC. We describe the case of a young girl with AHC who had tonic/dystonic and plegic attacks, mostly triggered by exercise, together with mild permanent dystonia and mental retardation. Her family had a history of dominant (three affected generations) paroxysmal exercise-induced dystonia. A history of plegic attacks that ceased after childhood was retraced from the medical records of the three affected adults, leading to the diagnosis of familial AHC due to ATP1A3 p.Asp923Asn mutation (Roubergue et al 2013). KD/MAD was considered for the proband when she was 3½ years old, following initial misdiagnosis of GLUT1DS. MAD, a KD variant, was chosen because it is easier to manage than KD and is similarly effective to KD in most GLUT1DS patients. MAD resulted in complete disappearance of the attacks during 15 months of follow-up.


A modified Atkins diet had a sustained beneficial effect on attacks associated with AHC. Although preliminary, this observation suggests that a ketogenic diet might be a therapeutic option for paroxysmal disorders in some patients with alternating hemiplegia of childhood.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center