Does a specialized diet help adults with epilepsy? Elizabeth Tracey reports


High fat, some protein, very few carbohydrates. That’s largely what constitutes a ketogenic diet, developed 100 years ago to help control epilepsy in children and adults. Now the diet is first line treatment for certain metabolic disorders and is gaining ground for epilepsy management. Mackenzie Cervenka, who specializes in the management of epilepsy in adults at Johns Hopkins, says there is a right time to try the diet.

Cervenka: In my opinion if you’re an adult with epilepsy and you’ve tried at least two antiseizure drugs that are appropriate for your type of epilepsy and continue to have seizures this is a reasonable time to consider the diet. One consideration in addition to that is that if you’re an adult with epilepsy who has a tumor or a lesion or some structural reason for having seizures and there’s an option for having epilepsy surgery, that would be the most appropriate next step to pursue.  :30

Cervenka says support and monitoring are needed when someone tries the diet, so seek expert advice if you’re interested. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.