Byline: ROGER DOBSON
THE Atkins diet may be a new treatment for epilepsy. Doctors have successfully prescribed the diet to patients with epilepsy and reduced the number of seizures. In one case, a seven-year-old girl who was having dozens of seizures a day was having none three days after being put on to the diet.
According to doctors who carried out a pilot study based on patients aged from seven to 50, the high protein diet may be an alternative treatment for some who do not respond to other therapies.
It has been known that fasting can have an effect on seizures and a so-called ketogenic diet - on which the popular Atkins diet is based - was first investigated one hundred years ago. It is high in fat, and low in carbohydrate and fluids, and designed to simulate some of the chemical changes that occur in the body with prolonged starvation.
Although the diet fell out of use as new anticonvulsant drugs were developed, it is now undergoing a revival among some doctors who have been using it to treat children with difficult-to-control epilepsy.
In the latest research doctors at the Johns Hopkins University looked at the effects of the high-protein Atkins diet on a group of five patients. One of the keystones of the diet is the restriction of carbohydrates such as high-sugar foods, breads, pasta, cereal and starchy vegetables.
The patients who took part had previously failed therapy with two or more anticonvulsants.
The results show that patients of all ages may be able to benefit from the diet. ROGER DOBSON MORE women with breast cancer are beating the disease by switching from a 20-year-old drug to a new treatment after surgery.
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