There is electrical activity in our brain at all times. A seizure is when there is a sudden burst of intense electrical activity in the brain which interrupts the brains normal activity. There are many types of seizures with varying degrees of complications and solutions. Each child can present very differently and will need a specific management programme that can be accessed through your neurologist.
However you will be the best judge of what is and isn’t working for your child and it is important that you go with your gut feeling. My son was on many drugs and every consultant we saw added a new one in. It was key that I documented each drug and its effect and whether it actually helped – consultants rarely suggest that you take your child off a drug, so this is something that you need to manage. It is useful here to use the medication charts for record keeping, click here for our Medical record keeping charts.
There are many ways to tackle Epilepsy, the first line of treatment is always through the use of anti seizure drugs, generally a Neurologist will suggest the most popular drugs and if they don’t work you will go through a remaining of drug options. This can be very frustrating as it takes a long time to begin and wean off drugs.
The Ketogenic Diet
What is the ketogenic diet? – The ketogenic diet is a special high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that helps to control seizures in some people with epilepsy. It is prescribed by a physician and carefully monitored by a dietitian. It is stricter than the modified Atkins diet, requiring careful measurements of calories, fluids, and proteins.
- Doctors usually recommend the ketogenic diet for children whose seizures have not responded to several different seizure medicines. It is particularly recommended for children with the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
- Several studies have shown that the ketogenic diet does reduce or prevent seizures in many children whose seizures could not be controlled by medications.
- Over half of children who go on the diet have at least a 50% reduction in the number of their seizures.
- Some children, usually 10-15%, even become seizure-free.
- Other than the internet, there are several books about the ketogenic diet available. One is The Ketogenic Diet: A Treatment for Children and Others with Epilepsy, by Drs. Freeman and Kossoff, which discusses the Johns Hopkins approach and experience. The Charlie Foundation and Matthew’s Friends are parent-run organizations for support.
In England, around 340 children each year could benefit from epilepsy brain surgery. However, in recent years, only around 110 children each year have had surgery on their brain to try to treat their epilepsy. Epilepsy brain surgery is done to help stop a child’s seizures, or reduce the number of seizures they have. Since November 2012, following a successful campaign by Epilepsy Action, a new Children’s Epilepsy Surgery Service (CESS) has been providing epilepsy brain surgery for many more children in England. For children aged five years and under, this surgery is done at one of four specialist CESS centres. For children aged six years and over, surgery may be done at a CESS centre, or locally.
For further information on surgical options and how to access them.
For further information please visit Epilepsy Action or the Epilepsy Society.