Better futures for young lives with epilepsy and associated conditions
A- A A+
Donate Now Helpline: 01342 831342 (Mon-Fri, 9am-3pm)
Switchboard: 01342 832243 (Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5pm)

A genetic basis for response to the ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet that has been used for almost 100 years in the treatment of epilepsy. The diet has been designed to mimic the effects of starvation on the body and has been shown to be successful in controlling seizures in many observational studies.

However, despite such evidence, the exact mechanisms of action of the diet are still not known, and in the absence of metabolic disorders such as glucose transporter type1 (GLUT-1) deficiency, it is difficult to predict which individuals will respond to the ketogenic diet.


To determine whether there is a genetic basis to treatment outcome with the ketogenic diet in drug-resistant epilepsy.

Outline plan

Recruit patients who have received, or are currently receiving the ketogenic diet and look at their genetic material to see whether there are any similarities in those who have responded well to treatment and those who have not. By looking at a group of people treated with the diet, we hope that we will find some common genetic changes and improve our understanding of how the Ketogenic diet works.


While there are indications that some potential candidate genes and pathway analyses point towards relevant areas, a larger sample size is needed. We are now looking to see whether diet response rates are different in those with specific genetic causes of epilepsy.


Natasha Schoeler, Helen Cross, Sanjay M. Sisodiya.

Cyber EssentialsFundraising RegulatorYoung Epilepsy is the operating name of The National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy (NCYPE).
Registered Charity number 311877 (England and Wales)

We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our Privacy Policy.

I accept cookies from this site
EU Cookie Directive plugin by