New drugs derived from components of a specific diet used by children with severe, drug-resistant epilepsy could offer a new treatment, according to research published today in the journal Neuropharmacology.
Scientists from Royal Holloway, in collaboration with University College London, have identified specific fatty acids that have potent antiepileptic effects, which could help control seizures in children and adults.
The discovery could lead to the replacement of the ketogenic diet, which is often prescribed for children with severe drug-resistant epilepsy. The high fat, low carbohydrate diet is thought to mimic aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Although often effective, the diet has attracted criticism, as side effects can be significant and potentially lead to constipation, hypoglycaemia, retarded growth and bone fractures.
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