The ketogenic diet is a well-recognized, effective, non-pharmacologic treatment for intractable pediatric epilepsy. The diet, which is high fat and low carbohydrate, alters the metabolic biochemistry in the brain to utilize fat and ketones, rather than carbohydrates and glucose, as the primary energy source. Meals are carefully calculated and prepared, accounting for all grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates. A great deal of motivation is required from the patient and parents in order to adhere to this strictly calculated diet.
Using ketones as the primary fuel source has proven to dramatically reduce the occurrence of seizures. Approximately two-thirds of patients on the ketogenic diet experience 50 percent or greater reduction in seizure frequency and 10-15 percent of patients experience complete seizure freedom. This medically prescribed diet also has neuroprotective effects.
These positive results have occurred regardless of seizure type, seizure syndrome and age. The Swedish Epilepsy Center is now offering the Ketogenic Diet as part of the available comprehensive epilepsy treatments for patients from infancy through young adulthood. For more information about the Ketogenic Diet, please contact Jenny Schoenfeld, ARNP, at the Swedish Epilepsy Center at 206-386-3880.