December 1, 2023

Ketogenic diet helps 4-year-old live seizure free, featuring Dr. Laurel Reed

A rigorous lifestyle change and pediatric epilepsy therapy helped preschooler Ellie go from daily seizures peaking at 10-25 a day to a seizure-free childhood. 

Ellie is among more than 100 children, from newborn aged to 21 years old, who receive this type of therapy every year through the Comprehensive Pediatric Epilepsy Program at Mott. 

Laurel Reed, M.D.
Laurel Reed, M.D. - Clinical Assistant Professor, Pediatric Neurology Division

The goal of the ketogenic medical diet, discovered over a century ago and today used alongside seizure medications, is to produce ketones through a specific balance of fat, protein and carbohydrates.  This shifts the body’s fuel source from glucose, or sugars, to ketones, or fat.

The change in the body’s metabolism affects important pathways in the brain. While there are different theories behind why the mechanism works, ketones – which the brain can use as an alternative source of energy – appear to have an anti-epileptic effect and help improve seizure control, says Mott pediatric neurologist Laurel Reed, M.D.