HealthCheck

Help for children who suffer from epilepsy

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

For many patients, medications can control the seizures. But when they don't, more families are trying a treatment once considered on the fringe.

Korey Walton and big sister Kylie are often in the kitchen making the foods which have transformed his life. Two years ago, epileptic seizures drained everything out of him.

Korey's mother, Dawn Walton, explains, "He was basically doing nothing but sitting in a corner, no smiles, no personality."

Medications didn't help, so his family looked into a ketogenic diet program at Children's Hospital. It's the food pyramid turned upside down!

Dr. Christina Bergqvist says, "90% of the calories are fat, 7% are protein, and 3% are carbohydrate."

A high-fat diet was widely used for epilepsy after doctors noticed sharply reducing carbs cut or even eliminated seizures. Anti-seizure drugs later replaced the ketogenic diet, but it returned in the 1990s after studies showed it really did work.

"They can often come off their medications," said Dr. Bergqvist.

The diet isn't just about eating butter or chugging cream. Everything is controlled and measured to the gram. But kids can still enjoy real world foods.

Dr. Berqvist tells us, "We can make souffle, pizza, we can make pancakes."

But in pancakes, for example, ground nuts are used instead of flour.

Korey's mother wasn't sure the ketogenic diet would work, but she's glad they tried seeing as he went from a blank stare to a smiling, outgoing child.

Dawn says, "It's truly our miracle.

Dr. Bergqvist explained that the ketogenic diet MUST be done under a doctor's supervision, because it can have side effects, especially in the early going. But she's got dozens of families successfully using it - some as long as 15 years.

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lifestyle, raising healthy kids, healthcheck, erin o'hearn
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