Epileptics - and especially children with the problem - may benefit from the controversial Atkins diet.
The low-carbohydrate diet has been tested in a small study of eight adult epileptics who hadn't been helped by anticonvulsant drugs. They were asked to follow the diet for six months, and restrict their carbohydrate intake to just 20 g a day.
However, just three were able to follow the strict guidelines, and each saw their seizure rate drop dramatically. One reported that his seizures had decreased by 60 per cent. All three said there had been an improvement in their ability to concentrate, and in their overall health and wellbeing.
One of the effects of the Atkins diet is to induce a state of ketosis - where the body converts fat into fatty acids for energy - and a ketogenic diet has been used for years for people with intractable epilepsy.
Another study has suggested that the ketogenic diet could help children with epilepsy.
(Source: Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery, 2008; 110: 797-803).