BALTIMORE, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- There appear to be no long-lasting side effects from the anti-seizure high-fat low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, U.S. researchers suggest.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore say the ketogenic diet, which may trigger biochemical changes that reduce seizure-causing brain short circuits, has been used for infantile spasms and in children whose seizures cannot be controlled with drugs.
"Despite its temporary side effects, we have always suspected that the ketogenic diet is relatively safe long-term, and we now have proof," study senior investigator Dr. Eric Kossoff said in a statement. "Our study should help put to rest some of the nagging doubts about the long-term safety of the ketogenic diet."
Kossoff and colleagues looked at 101 patients ages 2-26 on the ketogenic diet for a minimum of 16 months and up to eight years between 1993 and 2008. The subjects kept to the diet from eight months to 14 years.
The study, published in Epilepsia, finds nearly 80 percent of the participants were either seizure-free or had their seizures reduced by one-half. One patient had high blood pressure. Two people had kidney stones -- a similar rate to that of the general population, the study says.
Kossoff said he received grant support from Nutricia Inc. and consultant fees from Nutricia and Atkins Nutritionals Inc.