05-10-2015 | Zinc supplementation ‘can benefit children with intractable epilepsy’

A new study has highlighted the potential benefits of oral zinc supplementation in children with intractable epilepsy.

Published in the medical journal Functional Neurology, the research from Assiut University in Egypt assessed the impact of supplementation among 45 children aged between three and 12 years who were diagnosed with idiopathic intractable epilepsy.

Patients were randomly allocated to two groups, with an intervention group receiving oral zinc supplementation and the control group receiving placebo, each for six months.

It was shown that zinc supplementation resulted in a significant reduction in seizure frequency among 31 per cent of the treated children, suggesting this important trace element has mildly beneficial effects in children affected by serious forms of epilepsy.

The study concluded: "We recommend further investigation of oral zinc supplementation as an adjunctive therapy for managing intractable epilepsy in children. Zinc therapy may be an option in treatment protocols for intractable epilepsy in the near future."

Cases of epilepsy are considered intractable when they cannot be adequately controlled through the use of antiepileptic drugs. This occurs in around one-third of patients.