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School of Medicine
Adult Epilepsy Diet Center
Dietary therapy has been used to treat children with epilepsy for almost a century. However, this valuable treatment option has not been generally available to most adults with seizures. The modified Atkins diet is a low carbohydrate, high fat alternative to the ketogenic diet for adults, created at Johns Hopkins in 2002.
Recent studies have shown that the modified Atkins diet lowers seizure rates in nearly half of adults that try it, usually within a few months. Unlike the ketogenic diet (used mostly in children), there is no hospital stay involved, no fasting to get started, no food weighing, and no counting of calories or fluids. The diet is “modified” from the traditional Atkins diet because fats are encouraged. Adults can also lose weight on the diet if desired.
Our center, which opened in 2010, is the first ever clinic specially designed for adults with epilepsy using dietary treatments. (Read study results here.) As Johns Hopkins Hospital is one of the world leaders in dietary therapies, this is a significant advance in using diet therapy for adults. We have highly skilled dietitians and neurologists that can help customize the diet to fit your needs. Although we do not start adults on the traditional ketogenic diet, we will see adults who are already receiving the ketogenic diet but need an adult dietitian and neurologist to manage their care.
Our clinic is recommended to adults who:
- Have epilepsy,
- Have tried multiple medications in the past with limited success,
- Have a vagus nerve stimulator,
- Have been on diet therapies in the past with benefit and would like to try again,
- Are overweight, or
- Are awaiting epilepsy surgery or another new treatment that is not yet available.