Keto diet helps in some epilepsy cases, say docs

Namrata Devikar
Monday, 13 May 2019

Archana Rairikar, Consultant Dietitian at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital said, “One in 100 patients gets fits is the general average. The family goes to the doctor and are advised medicines. But if the first medicines fail, mostly other medicines do not help the patient as well.”

PUNE: Unlike many one-year-olds, Sandesh Bhandawale did not speak or crawl in 2016. However, things took a positive turn for him, when doctors from a city-based hospital suggested keto diet for his holistic development. 

Sandesh was diagnosed with epilepsy soon after his birth which delayed his overall growth. Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations and sometimes loss of awareness. 

Recalling his condition, his mother Seema Bhandawale said that in 2016 her child was very quiet. The family lives in Beed but had to seek further treatment in Pune for the young one. 

“We are visiting Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital for further treatment since 2015. The diet was started from 2016 after a series of tests. The doctors suggested that we should start with keto diet. Just after a few months, we could seen the changes in him. After starting the diet in 2016, today we see that he is developing just like other children without any complications,” said Bhandawale. 

Dr Umesh Kalane, Paediatric Neurologist and Consultant from Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Research Centre in the city said that a few patients respond to keto diet very well. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.

“Not all patients of epilepsy require keto diet. There is global research which has proven that in some cases keto diet along with medicines helps a patient to grow normally and have a seizure-free life.” 

We have about 70 such patients with us who have shown improvement after the keto diet. Ketos help these patients just like glucose helps a normal person,” said Kalane. 

Archana Rairikar, Consultant Dietitian at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital said, “One in 100 patients gets fits is the general average. The family goes to the doctor and are advised medicines. But if the first medicines fail, mostly other medicines do not help the patient as well.”

She added, “Many children get fits as many as 100 in a day which is challenging for the child as well as the family. This also challenged their mental and physical growth. For such patients, this line of treatment is a boon.” 

She added about 70 per cent children give response. “As the fits reduce or stop, their quality of life improves and so the child can go back to school, she said.” 

“Another important thing is many patients come from a rural background and don’t know where to get keto products. But it is their positive attitude that they find out everything to make their child’s life better,” said Rairikar. 

Recollecting how the diet helped the young child, Seema Bhandawale said that initially her son resisted the diet as it was new. 

“Later we found what she liked and what he doesn’t like in the list of things he was expected to eat. Once he got used to the diet, it started working out its magic. Now my son plays around like a normal child. What else do parents want?,” said Bhandawale.

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