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Seizure. 2019 Jul;69:41-43. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2019.03.017. Epub 2019 Mar 26.

Initiating the ketogenic diet in infants with treatment refractory epilepsy while maintaining a breast milk diet.

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Children's Mercy Hospital, Division of Neurology, Kansas City, United States. Electronic address:
Children's Mercy Hospital, Department of Nutrition, Kansas City, United States.
Children's Mercy Hospital, Division of Neurology, Kansas City, United States.



The ketogenic diet has been found to be safe and effective in the treatment of drug resistant epilepsy in childhood. The age range of children undergoing this treatment has steadily been going down. There is strong evidence that it is a safe alternative in infants with drug resistant seizures. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly supports continuing a breast milk diet until infants are at least six months of age. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the ketogenic diet in infants while maintaining a breast milk diet.


This is a cohort study of 9 infants between the ages of 1 and 13 months with drug resistant epilepsy treated with the ketogenic diet while maintained on breast milk. The data from the first two patients was gathered retrospectively while the other seven were studied prospectively.


We show that all nine infants achieved and maintained ketosis effectively. While one infant had no change in seizure frequency, three were seizure free at the first follow-up visit and four had a burden of seizure reduction greater than 50%. The diet was overall well tolerated, although one child required a hospital stay for dehydration and metabolic acidosis.


The ketogenic diet can be safely and effectively initiated in infants while continuing human breast milk feedings.


Breast feeding; Intractable epilepsy; Ketogenic diet

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