Over the last couple of years, the ketogenic diet has gained a substantial amount of popularity in the United States, as well as other parts of the world. People claim that the diet can provide them with fast weight loss and a host of other benefits. Turns out that research is now supporting that the keto diet can prevent relapse in infantile spasms with structural and genetic etiology.
For patients in the United States, the first types of therapies that patients with infantile spasms undergo is adrenocorticotropic hormone and vigabatrin. However, infantile spasms and other types of seizures tend to be “refractory to pharmacological and surgical treatments in patients with IS of focal-structural and genetic etiologies.”
The use of ketogenic diet therapies have proven to be useful. These are evidence-based treatments that can help to reduce seizures in children and adults who have intractable epilepsy. The diet is often used in conjunction with other types of therapies, including the use of medicines. Researchers wondered if the combination of various drug therapies along with the keto diet would help patients to have a better handle on their seizures.
This was a retrospective study that included the review of charts and data collection. The researchers retrieved information for patients with infantile spasms who were monitored and treated at the Infantile Spasms Clinic in a tertiary medical center. The “epilepsy etiology was categorized into known etiology and unknown etiology.” They also categorized patients into 2 groups: those who were treated with the classic ketogenic diet and those who did not start the classic ketogenic diet. They used the reports to look for infantile spasm relapse and other occurrences of seizures. Then, they were quantified with the parental report and confirmed through the use of video EEG.
What Were the Results?
There were 46 patients who were identified for the study with 32 patients who had infantile spasms of known etiology. 18 of those patients were treated with the classic keto diet and 14 of the patients were not treated with the classic keto diet.
The researchers discovered that there was a “statistically significant decrease in infantile spasm relapse from patients with infantile spasms of a known etiology who were treated with the classic KD (Chi Square, 6.41, p < 0.05) compared to patients with IS of known etiology who did not start the classic KD.”
The researchers did not see a "decrease in other seizure type occurrence rates in patient with infantile spasms of known etiology who were treated with the classic KD (Chi Square, 0.24, p < 0.1).17 patients with IS of unknown etiology were identified.”
Ultimately, they found that the classic keto diet would be a safe and effective therapy option to help prevent infantile spasm relapse in patients, but would not be effective in preventing the occurrence of other types of seizures in patients who have infantile spasms with focal structural and genetic etiology. Researchers believe that the patients should still be monitored for other seizure types to ensure proper treatment is provided to the patients.
Those who are considering starting the keto diet and believe it might help with their seizures, should make it a point to speak with their doctors first. Follow the instructions from your doctor to find the best way to deal with your seizures.