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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.

For more information or to make an appointment, contact Dr. Mackenzie Cervenka at or 443-287-0423, ext. 3 or Dr. Eric Kossoff at or 410-955-4259.

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Ketogenic Diet Shown Safe and Effective Option for Some with Rare and Severest Form of Epilepsy

In a small phase I and II clinical trial, Johns Hopkins researchers and colleagues elsewhere found that the high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet was a safe and effective treatment option for the majority of adults experiencing a relatively rare, often fatal and always severe form of epilepsy marked by prolonged seizures that require medically induced comas to prevent them from further damaging the body and the brain..

Read more.

International Visiting Observerships and Training

We offer a one-week training in the ketogenic and modified Atkins diet for international hospitals who wish to start an adult ketogenic diet center for a fee. In these trainings, both the adult neurologist and dietitian must attend. In addition, for centers already with ketogenic diet expertise, we welcome visits to our monthly ketogenic and modified Atkins diet follow-up clinics.

Find an Adult Diet Center near you:

Clinical Trials

Learn more about the Johns Hopkins Adult Epilepsy Diet Center's current studies. 

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Maryland Patients

Thank you for considering the Epilepsy Center at Johns Hopkins.
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Adult Neurology: 410-955-9441
Pediatric Neurology: 410-955-4259
Adult Neurosurgery: 410-955-6406
Pediatric Neurosurgery: 410-955-7337


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