According to the Epilepsy Society, epilepsy affects at least 300,000 people in the UK - 60,000 of these people are children under the age of 16. Epilepsy affects 1 in every 100 children.
It is the most common serious neurological condition in the world and can affect anyone at any time in their life - it has no respect for age, sex, race or social class.
Seizures tend to develop in childhood or by late adolescence, but the likelihood of developing epilepsy rises again after the age of 65.
One in twenty people will have a single seizure sometime in their life.
> Types of epilepsy
> First aid for seizures
> Medication & side
> Vitamins & minerals
> The Ketogenic Diet
> Modified Atkins Diet
> Epilepsy related links
The Daisyometer shows how much we have raised so far to keep our Daisy Garland Ketogenic Dietitians in place for a total of 3 years at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh.
Various Treatments Used for Seizure Control
The Ketogenic Diet
As Hippocrates once said, "Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food." His words will rattle around your head as you begin to learn about the ketogenic diet! A drug free alternative to controlling seizures, which is especially effective in young children with difficult to control epilepsy. The Ketogenic diet comes highly recommended by the Garland family.
NB: Please note that this diet can only be used in agreement with a medical professional as it is strictly a doctor/dietitian controlled diet.
Finding Out About The Ketogenic Diet
I would advise reading 'The Epilepsy Diet Treatment' by Freeman, Kelly, Freeman. Please refer to our ‘Library Section’ for more details. Please contact us if you would like us to send you a copy of our booklet ‘A Parent’s Guide to the Ketogenic Diet’, which will also give you a good insight as to what the diet involves.
Anticonvulsants can be very effective in controlling seizures. Our ‘Medication and Side Effects’ page will give you a comprehensive guide to the medication your child may be prescribed, along with a list of possible side effects.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals may be a way of controlling/reducing seizure activity. When Daisy was first diagnosed with epilepsy her neurologist tested her for Vitamin B6 deficiency as this is a known trigger for seizures in babies. Biotin and Carnitine can also help to control seizures.
Warning: Please remember to consult a medical practitioner prior to starting a course of independent vitamins or minerals to check that they do not interfere with any medication or the seizure condition itself.
Surgery is now recognized as a theraputic option for many children with hard to control seizures. However, for many, surgery is carried out far too late, with social and educational implications. Once surgery is carried out, it is irreversible. It is therefore crucial to ensure that the child has epilepsy which is resistant to antiepileptic medication and that surgery is likely to either prevent or at least markedly reduce further seizures, impacting positively on their quality of life. Physical functioning, concentration and learning abilities and psychosocial behaviour must be considered before surgery is undertaken, as it is clear that these areas may be adversely and irreversibly affected if surgery is undertaken too late, even if seizure control is markedly improved or even complete.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)
Since the first human implant in 1989 thousands of patients have been treated with VNS, mostly in the USA and mostly in adults. Experience of VNS in children is limited, especially in those with partial seizures. In a study, 19 patients aged between 4 and 19 years underwent stimulation of the vagus nerve for between 2 and 30 months. A 50% reduction in seizures was noted in half of these children and a 90% reduction occurred in one third of patients, with one patient becoming seizure free. Although the amount of seizure activity was reduced in most of these children, VNS was discontinued in over a third of them due to insufficient clinical improvement. The results were better in children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, where seizure reduction rates were in excess of 50%. Often children complain of hoarseness, coughing and a tingling sensation felt in the neck when the stimulator is turned on, but often these complications are temporary or respond to a reduction in the stimulation current. Any benefit may not necessarily be seen until 6-12 months following VNS implantation.
NB. Please note that the above topics are suggestions only and are in no way exhaustive in terms of treatments for epilepsy.
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