Thursday, November 18, 2010

Epilepsy’s Big, Fat Miracle: Food as medicine


NYTimes

Once every three or four months my son, Sam, grabs a cookie or a piece of candy and, wide-eyed, holds it inches from his mouth, ready to devour it. He knows he's not allowed to eat these things, but like any 9-year-old, he hopes that somehow, this once, my wife, Evelyn, or I will make an exception.

We never make exceptions when it comes to Sam and food, though, which means that when temptation takes hold of Sam and he is denied, things can get pretty hairy. Confronted with a gingerbread house at a friend's party last December, he went scorched earth, grabbing parts of the structure and smashing it to bits. Reason rarely works. Usually one of us has to pry the food out of his hands. Sometimes he ends up in tears. [...]

1 comment:

  1. For me, the most interesting part of the article was this:

    "[A ketogenic diet regimen] was first used as a medical treatment for epilepsy in the 1920s. The principles underlying the diet have been around since Hippocrates touched on them nearly 2,500 years ago.[...] The diet was quickly adopted and widely used through the 1930s. And then, almost as fast as it had appeared, the keto diet disappeared. When Dilantin was first used as an antiepileptic drug in 1938, its success steered medical minds toward pharmaceutical solutions. A generation later, the diet had been all but forgotten."

    "By 2000, more people were asking about keto, but most pediatric neurologists still would not prescribe it. That bias seemed ridiculous to J. Helen Cross, the principal investigator of the 2008 randomized keto trial at University College London. “I’d been dealing with complex epilepsy cases for 10 years, and it was quite clear to me that certain children did respond to the ketogenic diet,” Cross says. “But we in our institution — and I know we weren’t alone — were coming up against barriers to get the resources to do it. They’d say there’s no evidence it works. It’s a quack diet. There is no controlled data. So I wanted to prove that it did work once and for all, and do it in a way so that people couldn’t argue with it.”

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