In Fall 2018, the Dietary Treatment Program team from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) presented at the 6th Global Symposium on Ketogenic Therapies in Korea. Medical Director Christina Bergqvist, MD, and clinical dietitian Sue Groveman, MS, RD, LDN, presented on how the ketogenic diet can be used successfully with children who have specific conditions and how to counteract certain side effects of the diet that may present.
Dr. Bergqvist presented on use of the ketogenic diet in Dravet Syndrome, where the keto diet is increasingly used for longer time periods than the traditional two to three years. Several studies, including data from CHOP, shows that the keto diet reduces seizures (particularly status epilepticus), admissions to the hospital, and emergency department visits. In addition, quality of life and cognitive performance appears to be enhanced in these children.
Sue Groveman presented a poster on our use of growth hormone in children on long-term ketogenic therapy who also are growth hormone deficient. In the case series, Sue showed that the height deceleration often seen in children on the keto diet can be safely overcome with growth hormone replacement. The hormone is well tolerated, results in improved height and does not increase seizures.
The conference was held Oct. 5-9, 2018, at the International Convention Center Jeju in Jeju, Korea. Jeju is an island off the Korean coast between Korea and Japan. The Global Symposium on Ketogenic Therapies is held every two years, and is generally held in Europe or the United States, but conference leaders decided to hold the conference in Asia to increase the use and understanding of ketogenic diet therapy worldwide.
The use of ketogenic diets to treat epilepsy and seizure disorders has spread across the world, yet many Asian epilepsy centers have not embraced the therapy. The typical Asian diet is higher in carbohydrates (because it is often rice-based) than the western diet, so making a keto-Asian cuisine delicious has its own difficulties. Representatives from China, Thailand, Japan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India and many other countries attended the symposium.