By Alan Shope, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -
For years doctors have been trying to find new ways to treat epileptic seizures in children.
Often children with epilepsy don't respond well to medication, but now there's a new diet that doctors say might be a better treatment than medication.
It's a meal that takes nearly an hour to prepare because everything has to be weighed and measured.
"It's hard work and you need to keep track that they don't put anything into their mouth that they're not supposed to," said mother Bertha Guillen.
Her son Santiago suffers from epilepsy, and while many medications have failed to help his seizures, the ketogenic diet seems to be working.
"In the beginning it was heartbreaking, his seizures weren't stopping," Guillen said. "I knew the diet would be high in fats, but in a healthy way."
It's a one-of-a-kind diet program at Children's Mercy South Hospital and it consists of some surprising things.
"This typically includes roughly about three to four parts fat to one part protein and carbohydrate," said Dr. Ahmed Abdelmoity, the chief of epilepsy and neurology at the hospital.
The ketogenic diet seems to go against everything people normally think about when it comes to diet. It's high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates. But what it does for kids suffering from epileptic seizures is pretty amazing.
"The reason our kids don't end up having a problem with weight or obesity is because we also limit the amount of carbohydrates," Abdelmoity said.
In turn, the fat in the diet helps brain activity.
"The quality of life and attention and cognition improved with the ketogenic diet. Patients feel happier, they feel better, they sleep better," Abdelmoity said.
While not everyone is sold on the diet, neurologists at Children's Mercy have found it safe to use in children, and with no seizures in over a year, Santiago's mom agrees.
"It's a blessing to see all the progress he's made. Development-wise, he's been taking leaps," Guillen said.
The ketogenic diet has been around for about 15 years, but only in the last six months has research been able to back up its work with epileptic seizures.
Children's Mercy currently offers one of the largest ketogenic diet programs in the country and doctors say about one in three children with epilepsy qualify as candidates for the diet.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). All rights reserved.
Sunday, April 20 2014 12:25 PM EDT2014-04-20 16:25:32 GMT
Authorities are investigating a convenience store shooting.Raytown police were called to a QuikTrip in the 8700 block of East 63 Street about 1:30 a.m. Sunday after reports that a person that had beenMore >
Authorities are investigating a convenience store shooting.More >
Friday, April 18 2014 9:53 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:53:24 GMT
The police department's statements detail their use of GPS tracking, surveillance and the help of tips from the public that led to the eventual arrest of Mohammed Whitaker, the man suspected of being theMore >
Court documents detail how new-age technology, old-fashioned police work and observant eyewitnesses led to the capture of the man that authorities say was responsible for a string of highway shootings that terrorized the area.More >
Sunday, April 20 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-04-20 13:36:54 GMT
One person is in the hospital after a car crash on Interstate 70. It happened near Lee's Summit Road early Sunday morning and involved multiple vehicles. Police had to shut down a section of the interstateMore >
One person is in the hospital after a car crash on Interstate 70 in Independence. More >
Sunday, April 20 2014 9:44 PM EDT2014-04-21 01:44:11 GMT
Authorities said a death investigation is underway in a KCK neighborhood.Kansas City, KS, police were called about 12:40 p.m. Sunday to the 700 block of North 70th Terrace.No other details were immediatelyMore >
Authorities said a death investigation is underway in a KCK neighborhood.More >