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High-fat ketogenic diet to control seizures is safe over long term
Date:2/16/2010

not show up for decades. However, the evidence, especially among patients who were off the diet for more than 10 years, suggests no long-term harm.

During interviews, none of the patients reported adverse cardiovascular side effects such as heart attacks, enlargement of the heart or abnormal plaque buildup in their arteries. One patient reported having high blood pressure.

Only two of the 101 patients reported kidney stones after stopping the diet, the same rate found in the general population not treated with the ketogenic diet, the researchers say.

None of the 25 patients who had liver and kidney function tests had abnormal results. Among the 26 patients who had their cholesterol tested, the average level was 157 milligrams per deciliter of blood (less than 200 is considered normal), with three of the 26 having abnormal levels. Most patients' cholesterol levels go up while on the diet, but are believed to return to normal thereafter. The Hopkins study now confirms that this is the case.

Most patients older than 18 at the time of the study had normal body mass index of 22 on average (25 and below is considered normal). And most of them were within a few inches of their expected heights, based on their parents' heights. Patients 18 years and younger at the time of the study were, on average, in the 25th percentile for height and in the 36th percentile for weight for their age. While this is below average, the investigators say, it is also much higher than the usual 5thto-10th percentile while on the diet.

"We have every reason to believe that most children will start catching up once they are off the diet as they grow up because this is what we see in older former patients," Kossoff says.

Contrary to the fear of many parents, the diet does not appear to alter patients' food preferences, the researchers say. Only 8 percent of those in the study said they continued to eat predominantly high-fat foods.

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Contact: Ekaterina Pesheva
epeshev1@jhmi.edu
410-516-4996
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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