Johns Hopkins Medicine Celebrates Its Contributions to Keto Therapy as Diet Turns 100


Story 1
The ketogenic therapy diet turns 100 on July 27, 2021. Johns Hopkins Medicine has led the way throughout the first century in the research, application and testing that has resulted in the diet’s successful treatment of epilepsy and other diseases. Celebrate with us as we explore the history of this long-standing connection. Credit: Images courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Harris Family (photo of Carson Harris as an infant). Background image in the public domain.

On July 27, 2021, the ketogenic diet will turn 100 years old. While the diet was first proposed and studied at the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine has been a long-standing and pioneering contributor during the past century to the research, application and testing of the diet’s successful use in treating diseases.

The classic ketogenic diet, involving the consumption of high-fat foods and very few carbohydrates, is one of the oldest treatments for epilepsy and was the first diet of its kind when proposed a century ago. After decades of disuse, the ketogenic diet therapy became popular again in recent years, and now is used worldwide. In its many medical adaptations — including the modified Atkins diet, the modified ketogenic diet and the medium chain triglyceride oil diet — the treatment also benefits patients with other conditions, such as pre-diabetes and diabetes, dementia, headaches and some forms of cancer. 


Johns Hopkins is home to the Pediatric Ketogenic Diet Center and the Adult Epilepsy Diet Center. The pediatric epilepsy team at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center has used the ketogenic diet to address seizures since the diet’s therapeutic origins in the 1920s. The Pediatric Ketogenic Diet Center is one of the world’s leading centers for clinical and research expertise on the ketogenic diet, having treated more than 1,500 children with this approach. The Johns Hopkins Adult Epilepsy Diet Center, which opened in 2010, was the first clinic to offer ketogenic diet therapy specially designed for adults with epilepsy. The center has treated over 400 patients with both the classic ketogenic diet and, more recently, the modified Atkins diet.


Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers have published more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles on the ketogenic diet since the 1930s.


Available for interviews are Eric Kossoff, M.D., professor of neurology and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and medical director of the pediatric ketogenic diet program at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, and Mackenzie Cervenka, M.D., associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Adult Epilepsy Diet Center and the Johns Hopkins adult epilepsy monitoring unit. Johns Hopkins Medicine dieticians also are available for interviews.

Additional websites showcasing Johns Hopkins Medicine’s tremendous impact on ketogenic diet therapy include: