It is a type of disease that does not respond to medications. Currently, a shift towards a ketogenic diet is the most widely used non-pharmacological treatment option in the world. Seven out of 10 patients who apply it reduce by more than 50% the amount of crisis
Although 70% of epilepsies respond to treatment with anticonvulsant drugs, the remaining 30% fail to control seizures with medication at appropriate doses. These epilepsies are called refractory or drug resistant. And while the ketogenic diet would be a viable therapeutic option for this group of patients, it is estimated that only one in 20 in this group are treated with this therapy.
The ketogenic diet is a non-pharmacological medical treatment, scientifically proven to be indicated in children with epilepsy that is difficult to control or refractory to anticonvulsant drugs. Currently, it is the most used non-pharmacological treatment option in the world for patients with refractory epilepsy.
Seven out of 10 patients receiving a ketogenic diet reduce the number of seizures by more than 50%
“Seven out of 10 patients receiving ketogenic diet (rigorously selected for the start of treatment based on scientific evidence) reduce by more than 50% the number of seizures, and within this group 40% decrease in more than 90 %. the initial objective is to control seizures and cognitive improvement in the patient, then a secondary objective will be lowering the dose of antiepileptic drugs avoiding adverse, medication “unwanted effects.
While medications are a fundamental tool in the management of any pathology and epilepsy, in particular, those used to treat this condition can bring toxic side effects such as sedation, confusion, tremors, lethargy, drowsiness, depression, instability, vertigo , gastric irritation, headaches, hepatotoxicity, suppression of the bone marrow and vision problems, among others. In this sense, the ketogenic diet, in addition to its proven efficacy, has a much higher safety profile .
“Children with refractory epilepsy usually have repeated or recurrent hospitalizations as a result of poor control of seizures, they also have an increased risk of premature death, trauma and / or psychosocial alterations, as well as a reduced quality of life,” Toma said.
Gabriela is president of the association of Resilience patients’ relatives and Valentino’s mother, three and a half years old, who suffers from refractory epilepsy associated with a genetic mutation. And he said that from birth the child had a crisis 24 hours a day, “reaching four convulsive status of up to two hours.” “The ketogenic diet began very small, at six months, due to the seriousness of his condition.Today , almost three years, we can say that it is the most effective treatment we find at the moment, ” he said.
On the other hand, Celeste, Tiziano’s mother of two and a half years, related her experience with this therapy: “When we started the diet, Titian instantly responded well.” On the third day his crises dropped from 15 or 20 per day, to three or five A month later his crises did not appear anymore, Titian was wandering a lot, he was not concentrating, we could not play for a long time with him, this diet helped him a lot to concentrate, to follow his therapies and to eat sitting, “he said.
Children with refractory epilepsy usually have repeated or recurrent hospitalizations as a result of poor control of the crisis
But what is a ketogenic diet? It is basically rich in fats and low in carbohydrates and in proteins .
What happens with this type of diet is that, due to its high proportion of fats, it mimics the metabolic changes associated with the fasting state and produces the formation of ketone bodies (or ketones), which are those that would be involved in controlling seizures or epileptic seizures at the cerebral level. The diet also works by the mechanism of inhibition of glycolysis, that is, the body decreases the production of glucose, thus decreasing the levels of it in blood.
Among the foods included in the diet are cream, oil, lard, meat, chicken, eggs, cheeses, fish, fruits and vegetables . On the other hand, cereals, potatoes, cookies, corn, sweet potatoes or pasta are excluded for example. In most cases, it is not necessary to perform this treatment throughout life, but after a few years they begin to introduce different foods until the patient can finally perform a normal diet.
“With the onset of ketogenic therapy, patients with epilepsy and their relatives report, in most cases, a cognitive and behavioral improvement , this first change is generated by the benefits inherent in the new therapy and the reduction in the number The patient is more attentive, more alert, responds better to rehabilitation therapies, improves their hours and quality of sleep and obviously, if there is an answer to treatment, begins to control their crises. his epilepsy improves his quality of life “.
Epilepsy has a prevalence ranging between four to 10 per thousand inhabitants, that is, approximately one in every hundred people would suffer from epilepsy, of which 60% are children. The causes vary according to the type of epilepsy, which may be the result of congenital anomalies, vascular diseases such as cerebral infarction, infections, tumors, degenerative diseases or injuries. In many cases a specific cause is not discovered and they are called idiopathic epilepsies.
” The ketogenic diet must be indicated by a neurologist and requires a specialized treatment team , consisting of a neurologist, a nutritionist and a nutritionist, who will work jointly and permanently with the patient and their family. The type of diet will be the decision of the team, and will depend on the characteristics of the patient and the type of epilepsy, “the specialist added.
Epilepsy has a prevalence ranging from four to 10 per thousand inhabitants, that is, approximately one in every hundred people would suffer from epilepsy
As reported Toma, “contributes to the adherence of the ketogenic diet its reinforcement with nutritional formulas for the preparation of meals, which provide the necessary nutrients to meet the objectives of treatment.” The formula can be used as a supplement or as the only nutritional source, according to the medical indication.
It consists of a preparation of simple preparation, which facilitates therapy, has different nutrients in the same product and generates that those who consume it enter quickly in the degradation of ketones, which is the process that generates the beneficial anti-convulsive effect, and helps that the performance of the treatment is more tolerable.
Both this formula and the treatment of ketogenic diet is covered by social and prepaid works or by the Ministry of Social Development in case the patient does not have medical coverage, in all those cases for which it is indicated. This coverage is contemplated in the Disability Law (22.431 and 24.901) for those patients who have the certificate (CUD) and for those who do not, guarantees its free provision the Epilepsy Law (25.404).