THURSDAY, Jan. 5, 2023 (HealthDay News) — For adults and adolescents with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE), the addition of the modified Atkins diet (MAD) to standard drug therapy (SDT) is more effective for reducing seizure frequency and improving quality of life than SDT alone, according to a study published online Jan. 4 in Neurology.

Mala Manral, Ph.D., from the All India Institute of Medical Science in New Delhi, and colleagues examined whether MAD along with SDT was more effective than SDT alone for reducing seizure frequency at six months among adolescents and adults with DRE in a prospective randomized trial. Patients with DRE aged 10 to 55 years were enrolled, and 160 participants were randomly assigned to receive either SDT plus MAD (intervention arm) or SDT alone (control arm).

The researchers found >50 percent seizure reduction in 26.2 and 2.5 percent of patients in the intervention and control groups, respectively, at six months. Improvement in quality of life was 52.1 ± 17.6 and 42.5 ± 16.4 in the intervention and control groups, respectively. Behavior scores were examined in 49 participants; at the end of the study, improvement was seen in intervention versus control groups. One and two patients had weight loss and diarrhea, respectively.

“While the modified Atkins diet may be an effective treatment in controlling seizures, further research is needed to identify genetic biomarkers and other factors associated with the response to this diet,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This may improve patient care by encouraging targeted precision-based earlier use of this diet.”

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