The moveable feast: new mealtime approach eliminates seizures

Imagine enduring 25-35 seizures a day. That used to be seven-year-old, Hayden Wilson’s reality until he changed his diet and transformed his quality of life.

Dr. Rajesh Ramachandrannair, pediatric neurologist & epileptologist and Amanda Paashuis, registered dietitian at the Comprehensive Pediatric Epilepsy Program, McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH), Hamilton Health Sciences have developed a groundbreaking Liberalized diet that is removing the presence of seizures in their pediatric epilepsy patients.

“For several decades, a Classic Ketogenic Diet was used to treat epilepsy”, says Ramachandrannair.  “Though this is effective in controlling seizures in many patients, it is a very restrictive diet. Patients are advised to take specific exact amount of fat, carbohydrate and protein every day. Each meal and snack has to be prepared after careful weighing of the ingredients.  This significantly limits the food choices for children, and creates family and social isolation.”

With MCH’s Liberalized diet, patients like Hayden can eat  like regular kids. They can enjoy a meal at a restaurant or birthday party without worrying  about what they’re eating.

“In this particular form of diet, we do not restrict the amount of fat or protein and there is no restriction on the type of food items that the child can consume”, continues  Ramachandrannair.  “So that gives a lot of options to the family and the child.”

The liberalized diet has been tested in four patients at MCH: one patient had 100% seizure control, one had 90% reduction in seizures and it one patient, and the diet did not work. The fourth patient recently started the diet and there has been a significant reduction in their seizures.

For more information on the Comprehensive Pediatric Epilepsy Program at MCH, visit: http://www.mcmasterchildrenshospital.ca/body.cfm?id=75