In nearly one third of patients with epilepsy, seizures remain difficult to control despite multiple medications. A small group of these patients may benefit from epilepsy surgery that involves removal of the brain region that generates epilepsy. When medical treatment is ineffective and surgery is not an option, Ketogenic diet is an option. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate regimen that needs to be implemented by a team of experienced dietician and physician. An important requirement for beginning the diet is a commitment from those who will be taking care of the child, as the diet requires extra time and effort.
Nearly 50% of children on ketogenic diet have more than 50% reduction in seizures. Nearly 10% have more than 90% reduction in seizures. Diet need to be tried for at least 3 months to decide if it is benefit or not. An added benefit of the ketogenic diet is that many parents and caregivers report that children more alert on diet. If the diet seems to be beneficial to the child, doctors will usually prescribe it for about 2 years. Children on this diet plan with a decrease in seizures, usually continue taking antiseizure medicine, but may be able to take less of it later on. Children who respond exceptionally may be advised to slowly taper the medication with the goal of discontinuing it altogether.
Learn more about why the ketogenic diet continues to be offered to children with hard-to-control epilepsy from Ahsan Moosa Naduvil, MD, who is a pediatric epileptologist who treats children and adolescents at Cleveland Clinic's Epilepsy Center. Dr. Naduvil received his medical degree at Thanjavur Medical College in Tamil Nadu, India. He completed his neurology residency at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology in Trivandrum, Kerala, India. He then went on to complete further training in pediatric neurology, and epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
Dr. Naduvil is board certified in Child Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology with added competency in Epilepsy Monitoring by the American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology and Pediatrics. His specialty interests include ketogenic diet therapy, medical and surgical treatment of epilepsy, hemispheric epilepsy syndrome and hemispherectomy/hemispherotomy, Rasmussen encephalitis, autoimmune epilepsy, genetic and metabolic causes of epilepsy, video EEG monitoring and invasive EEG monitoring.
To make an appointment with Ahsan Moosa Naduvil, MD, or any of the other specialists in Cleveland Clinic’s Epilepsy Center, please call 216.636.5860 or toll-free 866.588.2264. Learn more about the Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy Center online at clevelandclinic.org/epilepsycenter.
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