Mackenzie Cervenka, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Adult Epilepsy Diet Center, discusses her presentation during the 2022 American Epilepsy Society annual meeting about treatments for patients with status epilepticus. This serious and potentially life-threatening condition occurs when a person has a seizure that lasts five minutes or more. There is a variety of treatments for this condition, including the ketogenic diet. Cervenka’s research highlights the high level of effectiveness of a liquid ketogenic diet combined with standard anti-seizure medications for treating this condition.
Hello, my name is Doctor mckenzie Cervenka and I'm a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine in the division of epilepsy. I direct the Johns Hopkins Adult epilepsy monitoring unit. Over one decade ago, I also created the Johns Hopkins Adult epilepsy Diet center. The first of its kind to treat adults with difficult to control seizures using ketogenic diet therapies. I am pleased to be here today to provide a general overview of my research using ketogenic diet in the management of patients with status epilepticus. I was honored to be invited to give a recent presentation on this topic at the 2022 annual American epilepsy society meeting to provide some background status. Epilepticus is a serious and potentially life threatening condition that occurs when an individual with a seizure which is caused by abnormal rhythmical electrical firing from the brain occurs and does not stop after five minutes or more as the seizure continues, this can cause severe injury to the organs including the brain and can also lead to death. There are a variety of medications that can stop status epilepticus, but studies have shown that they are not always effective, especially when not given immediately or at high enough doses. Even with fast and appropriate treatment status, epilepticus may not stop. And in that case, patients need to be treated with sedating medications that put the brain to sleep, to stop seizures and also need a breathing tube and a feeding tube. During this treatment, a ketogenic diet, which you may have heard about as being used for weight loss or other conditions in recent years is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet that causes fat breakdown into ketone bodies. There are many theories about why this works to stop seizures and this treatment has been used to prevent seizures in people of all ages for over one century, but has also been um not been studied until recent years in individuals with life threatening status, epilepticus in the setting of status epilepticus. A liquid ketogenic diet can be given through a feeding tube and our research suggests that combined with standard anti seizure medications, this approach can be safe and highly effective. These conclusions are based on small studies rather than large clinical trials. So additional research is needed to determine the best time to start this treatment type of diet to use and the best patients to treat with this promising therapy. Thank you so much for your time and attention.