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Rev Neurol. 2016;62 Suppl 1:S73-8.

[Autism spectrum disorder and epilepsy: the role of ketogenic diet].

[Article in Spanish; Abstract available in Spanish from the publisher]

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Hospital Infantil Universitario Nino Jesus, 28009 Madrid, Espana.


in English, Spanish


Between 5-40% of autistic patients will develop epilepsy. Most individuals with autism and epilepsy will respond to pharmacologic treatment; however, approximately 20-30% will develop medically refractory epilepsy. For this population, alternative treatments such as ketogenic diet (KD) can be highly efficacious and should be seriously considered.


To discuss the use of the KD in refractory pediatric epilepsy and its role in patients with autism and epilepsy.


KD is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for refractory childhood epilepsy, including those patients who associate autism and epilepsy. Accurate characterization of the electroclinical epilepsy syndrome is the key to deciding when to consider the KD. Otherwise, the positive effect of KD for treating mitochondrial oxidative disorders and different models of autistic animals suggest that KD could be a good alternative treatment for autistic patients.


Based on the demonstrated efficacy of KD in patients who associate both epilepsy and autism, KD treatment has been recently used in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders; however, there is lacking of controlled studies to define the real efficacy of this therapy. A well designed randomized controlled study is needed to determine whether KD is really efficacious for these patients.

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