The past two decades have seen a large resurgence in interest in the use of dietary therapies for epilepsy. Although the use of the classic ketogenic diet started in the United States, it may be seeing its most rapid growth internationally. In the 1970s to 1990s, there were excellent, large ketogenic diet centers in England, Argentina, Germany, France, and Australia. More recently other countries have joined in, not just to offer the diet, but also to collaborate and engage in research. In 2005, I wrote an article entitled, “Worldwide use of the ketogenic diet” that was published in Epilepsia and that highlighted this international trend. At the time, I found centers in 41 countries (outside the United States). Today there are 60 countries (to my knowledge).
Worldwide Awareness and Resources
As a result of this global interest, I am pleased to announce that the ILAE (International League Against Epilepsy) has created a Task Force for Dietary Therapies. The Task Force includes 12 members: neurologists, dietitians, and a parent (Ms. Emma Williams from Matthew’s Friends!). The mission of this Task Force is to raise awareness, provide resources, and serve as a guide for collaborations worldwide. I personally plan to use this Task Force to bring the diet to developing countries and regions that do not offer the diet (many still in Africa, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia, for example, do not offer it).
The first project of the ILAE Task Force, its website, was just completed in July 2014. It is located at http://www.ilae.org/Commission/medther/keto-index.cfm. If you search in Google for “ILAE ketogenic,” all of the subpages will come up too. Many of the pages are available in Spanish thanks to Task Force Members Dr. Ximena Raimann Tampier and Rocio Rivera Claros RD (from Chile and El Salvador, respectively). This work also could not have been made possible without the help of Ms. Deborah Flower from Association Resources who helped create the page.
The new website includes:
- Exciting news related to the ketogenic diet (updated every few months)
- Key ketogenic diet articles (free PDFs for download) made possible by the generosity of the journals Epilepsia, Epilepsy and Behavior, and Journal of Child Neurology.
- Important books and websites related to dietary therapy, including those in many languages
- Supplements and products available (worldwide)
- The list of International ketogenic diet centers that I have been updating and maintaining since 2005 here at epilepsy.com has also migrated to this page. Thanks to epilepsy.com for all their help!
- Examples of international recipes from 10 countries to show how easily ketogenic diet meals can be made culturally appropriate (including great photos!). These recipes are mostly to be used as teaching tools and examples – not all of them have precise gram measurements.
Please feel free to visit our site and email me with comments and suggestions! Stay tuned for more projects from the ILAE Task Force on Dietary Therapies in years to come.
- Kossoff EH, McGrogan JR. Worldwide use of the ketogenic diet. Epilepsia 2005;46:280-289.
- Kossoff EH, Dorward JL, Molinero MR, Holden KR. The modified Atkins diet: a potential treatment for developing countries. Epilepsia 2008;49:1646-1647.