Children with Doose syndrome, a rare condition found in 1 to 2 percent of children with epilepsy, benefited from a modified Atkins Diet, according to a study.
The research, “Modified Atkins diet is an effective treatment for children with Doose syndrome,” was published in the journal Epilepsia.
Children with the condition, also called myoclonic-astatic epilepsy, experience seizures that do not respond immediately to standard anti-epileptic drugs. The children are also at higher risk of developing an epileptic encephalopathy, or brain disorder that includes cognitive decline.
A ketogenic diet, low in carbohydrates and high in fat, has been shown to benefit Doose syndrome patients. It’s very restrictive and difficult to comply with, however — particularly for children.
A modified Atkins Diet could be a good alternative because it’s less restrictive, which means it’s easier to follow.
Researchers studied 30 children with Doose syndrome who followed a modified Atkins Diet an average of 18.7 months. Twenty-four of the patients were boys and six girls. They ranged from 1 1/2 to 5 1/2, with a mean age of epilepsy onset of about 3.
Twenty patients stuck with the diet after the study. Three patients got off it after experiencing no seizures for more than two years. The diet failed to help three of the other patients. In two cases it worked for a while but lost its effectiveness. Researchers dropped two other patients from the study because they weren’t following the diet.
No severe side effects were reported. By the end of the observation period, the rate of seizures dropped in half for 25 patients, or 83 percent. Fourteen, or 47 percent, experienced no seizures at all.
“Toddlers are always very choosy for their food, so the modified Atkins Diet is a good choice for families with a child suffering from a Doose syndrome, as shown by our study: less restrictive than the classical ketogenic diet, easier to calculate, to cook, and having an optimal responder rate regarding seizure reduction as well,” Adelheid Wiemer-Kruel, lead author of the study, said in a press release.