There has been a great deal of debate between neurologists and homeopathic doctors on the role diet may play in migraine headaches and epilepsy. While traditionalists scoff at the idea of dieting as a preventative therapy, the homeopaths scoff at the idea of using any medications ever. As with most such controversies, both extremes are likely to be blind to new developments that don’t fit their theories.
A new study is offering a great deal of hope to parents whose children have frequent, regular attacks of epilepsy and migraine headaches that do not respond to drug therapy. Experts in the departments of neurology, immunology, and dietetics at London’s famous Hospital for Sick Children (Great Ormond Street) examined forty five kids with both conditions. As they reported in Journal of Pediatrics, they found that almost eighty percent improved on special diets. Over half the epileptic seizures stopped altogether, four had seizures only when they had chest infections, and the rest found they had seizures only half as often as before the diets. No matter what type of epilepsy the children had, they all improved.
The experts found a wide variety of 42 foods prompted symptoms, and half of these provoked epileptic seizures. Cow’s milk seemed to be the most common food eaten before symptoms, although the food additive benzoic acid, pork, and eggs were involved in one case each. Brain waves were checked on the EEG, and found to improve when the children were on the allergy-free diet. Now it must be noted that these children were selected only because they had received no help from drugs, but the point is that others who do need drugs may well find that an allergen free diet could well reduce their doses.
In a world that changes constantly, it is always good to keep an open mind. If you suffer from epilepsy or migraine headaches, remember that it is possible that some of your foods may be triggering the episodes, so it is worth experimenting by excluding foods one at a time from your diet. But if you are already on medications, do not suddenly stop them without consulting your doctor.