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A seizure can be alarming, but many people live with epilepsy, or recurrent seizures, and manage it through medicine, as well as lifestyle and nutritional modifications.

The brain is a complex organ. One interesting and important fact about the brain is that the various regions and brain cells communicate through a combination of chemical and electrical signals. There are numerous ways these signals can be modified or interrupted, but a relatively common condition that affects brain signals is known as epilepsy, the presence of recurring seizures.1*

A seizure is sudden, abnormal brain activity. Seizure symptoms include loss of consciousness or unexplained sensory and emotional changes, loss of motor control or tremors, rigid muscles and convulsions throughout the body.* Seizures can occur in a single region of the brain (focal) or can affect the entire brain (generalized). Epilepsy is diagnosed when someone has had one or more seizures, is likely to have more and the seizures are not caused by a clear transient provoking medical condition.2

Around 65 million people are affected by epilepsy worldwide. There are many reasons people develop epilepsy, but the basic reason for this condition is changes in the brain. Genetic factors are indicated in inherited forms of epilepsy, where the tendency to have seizures runs in a family. Other reasons for epilepsy include infections and injuries that affect the brain, and developmental changes in brain structure.

Most patients with epilepsy respond to conventional medications, but a proportion are resistant. Aside from medication, one treatment strategy is known as the ketogenic diet, a diet higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates. At Nestlé Health Science, we are devoted to studying the role of nutrition on conditions affecting the brain, such as epilepsy, in order to help patients best manage their condition.

1. http://www.epilepsy.com/start-here/about-epilepsy-basics. Accessed December 2014.
2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/seizures.html. Accessed December 2014.
*Listed symptoms are not all-inclusive; actual patient symptoms may vary.

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The high-fat ketogenic diet (high in fat and low in carbohydrates) shows up to a
reduction in seizures in clinical studies.
Source: http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/dietary-therapies/ketogenic-diet. Accessed December 2014.

First aid for seizures

People diagnosed with epilepsy should always carry medical identification so that their condition can be clearly identified in case of a seizure. People having a seizure should be protected from potential harm from their surroundings, and observed but not otherwise interfered with until the seizure ends.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/guide/first-aid-seizures. Accessed December 2014.


The ketogenic diet: A diet higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates

Starting the ketogenic diet for epilepsy is usually done in children, under the supervision of a physician and dietician. This diet is often used in cases where seizures are not able to be controlled by medication alone.

Source: http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/dietary-therapies/ketogenic-diet. Accessed December 2014.


Health, nutrition, and lifestyle

Staying active, limiting the intake of alcohol and being aware of potential drug interactions between prescription epilepsy medicine and other medicines are all important factors in managing epilepsy.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/guide/first-aid-seizures. Accessed December 2014.

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