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Epilepsia. 2015 Sep;56(9):1325-9. doi: 10.1111/epi.13075. Epub 2015 Jul 22.

Dietary therapy is the best option for refractory nonsurgical epilepsy.

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.


Ketogenic diet therapies for epilepsy have been described since the fifth century and published in scientific literature since the early 1900s. Since that time, the diet's popularity has waxed and waned as newer drugs and other treatments have been introduced. However, in recent years, dietary therapy for epilepsy has been increasingly accepted by physicians and desired by patients as an alternative to new drugs and neurostimulation. The introduction of less restrictive versions of the classic ketogenic diet, such as the modified Atkins diet (MAD), have led to increased numbers of adult patients with refractory epilepsy who are initiating dietary treatment. Approximately half of adults and children who start a ketogenic diet have a >50% seizure reduction, which is impressive given that these patients typically have medically refractory epilepsy. We believe that ketogenic dietary treatment is the best option for children and adults with refractory nonsurgical epilepsy due to its efficacy, rapid seizure reduction, synergistic effects with other antiseizure treatments, known and treatable side effects, potential to treat comorbid medical conditions, and worldwide availability.


Epilepsy; Ketogenic; Modified Atkins diet

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