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Dietary Approaches to Epilepsy Treatment: Old and New Options on the Menu


  • Carl E. Stafstrom M.D., Ph.D.

Carl E. Stafstrom, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; E-mail:


Dietary therapies represent a potentially valuable adjunct to other epilepsy treatments, such as anticonvulsant medications, epilepsy surgery, and vagus nerve stimulation. Although the ketogenic diet (high fat, adequate protein, low carbohydrate) is the most well-established dietary therapy for epilepsy, other possible approaches include the Atkins diet (high fat, high protein, low carbohydrate), a diet enriched in polyunsaturated fatty acids, or overall restriction of calorie intake. This review discusses the current clinical status of each of these dietary approaches and suggests possible mechanisms by which they might suppress neuronal hyperexcitability and seizures.

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