Saturday, November 29, 2008

New diet helps control seizures especially during the holidays

There's a diet out there that's actually promising to make holidays dinners more enjoyable for some people.

It's called the Low Glycemic Index. But its goal, in this case, isn't to lose weight. It's to help people with epilepsy reduce their seizures. Two-and-a-half-year-old Alexandra Quandt of Lake Elmo is benefiting.

This sunny little girl, with big eyes, was born with a physical brain malformation called Bilateral Perisylvian Poly Micro Gyria or PMG. Because of the PMG, Alexandra can have numerous seizures a day.

Her father, Mark Quandt, says, "Right now she gets between 10 and 15 a day, real small, real short."

But she has fewer seizures than she might have otherwise thanks to the Low Glycemic Index diet. Alexandra's mom, Rochelle Quandt, says, "We know when we don't follow it to the 'T' and we go off it there is an increase in severity and frequency."

This same low-carbohydrate diet that has helped many people lose weight has been shown to reduce seizure frequency nearly as well as a more restrictive, low-carb, very high fat diet called the Ketogenic diet.

Karri Larson is a registered dietician at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. She explains what those on the Ketogenic diet might eat. She says, "A typical meal would be two ounces of cream, a couple pats of butter, 1 to 2 oz of high fat meat then two to three carrots or several grapes."
Rochelle Quandt says, for her daughter, "That would be really hard. It just doesn't seem right nutritionally."

Larson says the Low Glycemic Index diet gives patients a greater variety of foods and therefore makes it easier for them to sit down for meals with their family and eat much of the same things.
She says, "It does require counting carbohydrates and learning the glycemic index of foods but its much more family friendly."

She also says the Ketogenic diet requires hospitalization to implement it, while the low glycemic index diet does not and is one that everyone in the family can follow and reap the benefits.
For the Quandt's, that means this Thanksgiving, like last Thanksgiving, Alexandra won't need a special meal just for her. Mark Quandt says, "She had turkey and sweet potato and any vegetable, almost any vegetable is good."

And her parents know she's getting all the nutrition she needs.

Rochelle says, "She's just the love of our lives."

To find out more from Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare,
click here.

By Renee Tessman, KARE 11 News(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)


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