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Can a Modified Version of the Atkins Diet Reduce Epileptic Seizures?

John Hopkins researchers have discovered that a modified version of the Atkins diet can greatly reduce epileptic seizures. This is good news for the millions of adults and children who struggle with epilepsy. These findings could mean a major breakthrough in the treatment of epilepsy.

What is the Atkins diet?

The Atkins diet is a controversial weight loss plan that encourages dieters to eat more protein and fewer carbohydrates. Some health care professionals and dieticians say that eating too much protein and fewer carbohydrates is bad for the body. These people may rethink their stance after they learn about the study conducted by the John Hopkins School of Medicine.

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John Hopkins researchers have shown that a variation of the Atkins diet helps reduce epileptic seizures. These findings are good news for people who can’t control their seizures with medications or other treatments.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers lead by Dr. Eric H. Kossoff of John Hopkins School of Medicine. Thirty adult patients participated in the study. No children were involved in this project because prior research showed that children did in fact benefit from the modified Atkins diet.

Only patients that had received no relief from anticonvulsant drugs were eligible for the study. The patients selected for this study had also been having at least 10 seizures per week. The program consisted of each patient being limited to 15 grams of carbohydrates per day. Most of their calories were gained from fats in eggs, meats, and oils. They could eat as much protein as they wanted, and drink no-carbohydrate beverages.

The good news is that the modified Atkins diet worked. After following the plan for a month or two, each patient reported having fewer seizures. Some people had as much as a 50 percent decrease in their seizures. The bad news is that most of the participants found the diet too hard to follow. After three months, most of the patients had dropped out of the study.

Researchers don’t know why the modified Atkins diet reduces seizures. And since most people find the eating plan too restrictive, it’s not recommended as a long-term solution. It’s not possible to follow the eating plan for a short time and reap the benefits. It has to be a long-term lifetime process. But the participants in the study made it clear that the plan is simply too restrictive.

Researchers are trying to develop a version of the plan that will be easier to follow. They also say that although the plan is restrictive, it’s still good for patients with no other alternatives.

Even people who disapprove of the Atkins diet will agree that this is a positive development. The diet may not be all that great for people of normal health, but it can do wonders for people with epilepsy. Hopefully, researchers will discover a less restrictive version of the diet that works just as well as the original version.

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