For certain pediatric epilepsies like Doose syndrome or myoclonia-astatic epilepsy, dietary treatment of medically uncontrolled seizures can be the first line of treatment. The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Division of Pediatric Neurology offers a variety of dietary treatment options for pediatric epilepsy. Each diet type is carefully selected in consultation with the patient’s family and physician and instruction and monitoring is provided by the registered dietitian. The “Keto Team” at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan includes the Pediatric Neurologist, Nurse Practitioner, and Registered Dietitian.
The “classic” Ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has been used to treat medically uncontrolled seizures for over 100 years. The team at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan has been using this diet to help children for about 20 years. The classic Ketogenic diet is the strictest version of the diet, requiring food to be weighed on a gram scale. The child is encouraged to eat all of the food provided at a meal or snack and nothing else. This diet is also the most researched, with hundred’s of scientific studies demonstrating seizure reduction. On average, 1/3 of patients see a >90% reduction in seizures, 1/3 see a 50-90% reduction, and 1/3 see <50%. The diet has been shown to be potentially effective with any types of seizure.
Other dietary treatment options available at Children’s Hospital of Michigan include: the Modified Atkins Diet (MAD), which monitors the amount of carbohydrates per day and encourages fat intake, and the Low Glycemic Index diet (LGI), which limits carbohydrates to those low in glycemic index foods.
If you think you are interested in a classic Ketogenic, MAD, or LGI diet for your child, please discuss this with your Neurologist and Nurse Practitioner. Next, schedule an appointment with the registered dietitian to discuss your treatment options. If your child is started on a therapeutic diet, regular follow-up appointments will be made with the dietitian.