Epilepsy & Autism

Ketogenic Diet

21 February 2009
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Dietary intervention has a small role overall in paediatric epilepsy and is not a substitute for medication. The Ketogenic diet is high in fats such as butter and cream. It is aimed at producing ketones in the brain which are thought to have an anti-epileptic effect though this is not well understood. Children don't remain on the diet indefinitely and moreover it often loses effectiveness after puberty. It must be prescribed by an experienced dietitian under supervision of a paediatric neurologist. It requires strict adherence to be effective and is not always well tolerated.

However, it has been credited with impressive results in some cases of difficult epilepsy. Some children with autism may already be on gluten and casein free diets or may eat only a restricted range of foods. In such cases the option of the Ketogenic diet needs to be carefully evaluated to determine suitability.

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