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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

One of the most frequent comments that I received after writing the January 2007 epilepsy.com Keto News article listing international sites that offer the ketogenic diet was, "What about the United States!?!??" Of course, there are just as many, if not more centers in the USA that offer the ketogenic diet compared to all other countries combined. The ketogenic diet was first created in 1921 in Rochester, Minnesota and became popularized as a result of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and the Charlie Foundation (www.charliefoundation.org) in Santa Monica, California in the mid 1990s. In 2008, the ketogenic diet is offered in nearly every state in the USA. However, when I first created this list as the main focus of an article published in Epilepsia in 20051, my concept was to provide a list of ketogenic diet centers OUTSIDE the USA due to a common perception that few existed. As it turned out, there were over 70 centers in 40 countries around the world that offered the ketogenic diet.

Despite this, the message from parents that a list of USA centers was necessary was received loud and clear. This list was compiled by Susie Gingrich RD and her colleagues at Nutricia, the company that makes KetoCal (ketogenic diet formula). In February 2008, they launched "Find a Center" on their website - http://www.myketocal.com/findcenter.aspx. Centers can be found by clicking on the state shown in the USA map (or the word for that state listed below) on their webpage, after which a list will appear. According to Nutricia, their purpose in creating this website is to help families get "easy access to centers across North America that offer medical nutrition therapy for epilepsy".

This site is by no means complete, nor does Nutricia claim that all centers have proven ketogenic diet experts. At this time, 99 centers in the US (and 15 in Canada) are listed. However, in my opinion it’s a good start, and when they started to design it, I suggested to list each center’s year of origin, number of children started per year, and if they treat adults. This information is not verified, but may provide some extra information to families other than just the neurologist and dietitian’s names. Approximately 20 centers answered these questions. Of course, it is up to parents and patients to do their own research, but this website can get you started. If your ketogenic diet center is not listed (and wants to be!), please have them contact Susie Gingrich RD at sgingrich@shsna.com.

REFERENCES

1. Kossoff EH, McGrogan JR. Worldwide use of the ketogenic diet. Epilepsia 2005;46:280-289.

Authored by: Eric Kossoff, MD on 7/2008
Reviewed by: Steven C. Schachter MD on 7/2008
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