Children and adolescents with refractory epilepsy could benefit from better behavioural and cognitive outcomes through the use of ketogenic dietary therapy.
The high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet has been shown to help control seizures among youngsters with refractory epilepsy, but a new study has shown it can also have a positive impact on cognition and aspects of behaviour.
Conducted by Maastricht University and published in the medical journal Epilepsy & Behavior, the study enrolled a total of 50 patients, 28 of whom received a ketogenic diet and 22 of whom received care as usual (CAU).
The ketogenic diet group showed lower levels of anxiety and mood-disturbed behavior, and was rated as more productive than the CAU group. Cognitive test results also suggested that the diet was associated with improvements in neural activation.
The research concludes: “This study showed a positive impact of the ketogenic diet on behavioural and cognitive functioning in children and adolescents with refractory epilepsy. More specifically, an activated mood and cognitive activation were observed in patients treated with the ketogenic diet.”
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