Brilliant Brighton: Report from the 7th Global Symposium on Medical Ketogenic Dietary Therapies
This year, approximately 600 in-person and virtual attendees came together in Brighton, United Kingdom for the 7th Global Symposium on Medical Ketogenic Dietary Therapies on October 19-22. After a year of postponement due to COVID-19, the event was worth the wait! Due to the postponement, the meeting fell on the calendar year of the 100th anniversary of the ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Led by Dr. Kossoff, Dr. Helen Cross, and Dr. Jong Rho, the symposium featured three lectures that covered the past, present, and future of the ketogenic diet therapy. One important theme was that mentorship, collaboration, and research will help the diet continue to be popular in the future. Poster sessions were mostly virtual and focused on the quality of life and providing ketogenic diet services in the pandemic. The exhibit hall continued to be a highlight of the meeting, which included cooking demonstrations with new formulas and tastings, ketogenic breads and pastas.
While there were a variety of sessions covering all topics related to the ketogenic diet for epilepsy, the emphasis this year was on the use of a ketogenic diet for adults, and issues related to provider availability and patient compliance. Other key topics included: effects of diet therapy on quality of life, not just seizure frequency; influence on the gut microbiome; benefits for rare epilepsies like GLUT1 deficiency syndrome; and how important a keto diet can be as a treatment for drug-resistant status epilepticus.
In addition, there was a discussion focused on the benefits of using keto diet therapy for conditions other than epilepsy such as cancer, dementia, and diabetes. A keto diet for these conditions may look different so funding and research coordination are important factors to consider.
This symposium was also the official launch of the International Neurological Ketogenic Society (INKS), a new society that will help coordinate the biannual meetings, and also guide research, training, education, and clinical use of the ketogenic diet for the future.
This year the focus was less on the international use of ketogenic diet services as compared to the 2018 meeting held in Jeju, Korea. There was also less emphasis on randomized, controlled trials given the amount of data available now, as well as limited discussions on the value of various diets and finding epilepsy “indications” due to previously established guidelines.
It was really great for the neurology/ketogenic diet community to be together again in person for the first time in three years. There is no substitute for the hallway conversations and collaborations that happen during an in-person meeting. The next meeting will be held in San Diego September 17-21, 2023. Find more information about the next meeting.