The ketogenic diet (KD) is a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet and has been proven to be effective for managing seizures. For children, the KD is typically started in the hospital for safety reasons. This means that the child must wait for a hospital bed to become available, and must spend time away from home.
Research by Dr. Rajesh RamachandranNair and colleagues in Hamilton examined a new approach by starting the KD in a child’s’s home, instead of the hospital. They found that the slow initiation of the KD at home was safe and allowed many children to achieve good seizure control, including seizure freedom. Overall, success with the KD was better in younger children.
Starting the diet at home, means less waiting time and disruption for the child, and fewer expenses for the hospital. It also means that the diet will be more accessible to more patients. In another study, Dr. Sharon Whiting and her team in Ottawa examined the effects of the KD on the utilization of healthcare resources. Dr. Whiting found that the reduction in hospital visits in children on the KD resulted in significant cost savings to the health care system.
In a different approach to diet therapy, EpLink’s industry partner Ketogen is developing novel therapeutics in the form of an oral pill that may provide reduced dose/drug-related side effects in patients with epilepsy. The “KD in a pill” functions as an alternative to Ketocal, a nutraceutical formula in a 4:1 ratio (fat: carbohydrate and protein), and has been shown to be effective in standard animal seizure models. Ketogen is currently seeking funds to support early phase clinical trials.