The Ketogenic Diet and Its Role in Epilepsy Treatment
The true story of how one woman found the ketogenic diet and her struggle against a narrow-minded medical establishment.
We had never heard of the ketogenic diet until a few weeks ago. Then we watched this made-for TV movie, "...First, Do No Harm" and decided we wanted to learn more about this amazing diet, which has helped many children with severe epilepsy to become seizure-free when drugs not only couldn’t help them, but caused agonizing "side" effects.
The film stars Meryl Streep as the mother of little Robbie, whose severe seizures cannot be controlled by even the strongest anti-seizure medications. His doctors are ready to operate when his desperate mother, sure there must be a better way, does some research on her own and discovers a book relating the amazing success of this diet, first used in the 1920’s.
Robbie’s doctor does not think trying the diet is a good idea, because evidence in its favor is only anecdotal, and isn’t proven by double-blind studies. His doctor still wants to operate on Robbie’s brain.
But Robbie’s courageous mother takes him to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where he begins the diet and again becomes the happy, healthy, seizure-free little boy he had been before being diagnosed with epilepsy.
Film producer Jim Abrams directed "...First Do No Harm" several years after his own son Charlie was cured of epilepsy with this diet, after having suffered many of the same things as Robbie, and brain surgery as well, all of which had failed to curb his seizures.
Most of the patients who are significantly helped by the diet (and a great many experience tremendous improvement) are able to discontinue it after two or three years and still enjoy the healing it brought them with no need to return to anti-seizure drugs. This is amazing and wonderful!
We’ll be working on getting more information to you about this diet for treating epilepsy, including video interviews with doctors, videos of comments from people completely free from epilepsy thanks to the ketogenic diet, and a resource page. For now, whether or not you know anyone with epilepsy, we heartily recommend this film.
Here, in excerpts from the Charlie Foundation site, is what The Charlie Foundation is about:
"The Charlie Foundation to Help Cure Pediatric Epilepsy was founded in 1994 after twenty month old Charlie Abrahams, having endured multiple daily seizures, and failed every available anti-convulsant drug and one brain surgery, was cured of his epilepsy by the ketogenic diet at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The diet was undertaken despite resistance from the five pediatric neurologists he had seen.
"When Charlie's parents realized that Charlie was but one of hundreds of thousands of children whose families were either not being informed, or being misinformed about dietary therapy, they started The Charlie Foundation in order to objectively provide this information and empower parents of those children, educate doctors, hospitals, dietitians, and nurses about proper implementation of the diet, and facilitate scientific research into its mechanisms.
"Our progress has been significant. Today it has been confirmed in both vast anecdotal and Class 1 studies that the ketogenic diet improves most children with intractable seizures and, like Charlie, cures many.
"Our hope is that the information contained on this website will support educated decisions about treatment and implementation of dietary therapy for children and others with epilepsy."
ALL those with drug resistant epilepsy should be able to gain access to these dietary treatments and be supplied with the correct information so that a properly informed decision can be made.
These diets should be administered and supported by a trained team to include a Neurologist and Dietitian.
Matthew’s Friends will support all those involved with these treatments and help further research and development into the use of Dietary Treatments for Epilepsy.
Watch Emma Williams share about her son's experiences with the ketogenic diet, what caused her to start Matthew's Friends, and the wonderful work they do to help kids and parents. Emma Williams is the mother of Matthew of Matthew's Friends, a charity deeply involved in helping others learn about and implement, with professional oversight, this amazing diet.