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Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

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Treatment continued...

Diets

A special high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, called the ketogenic diet, helps some people with epilepsy, including some children with LGS. It's a high-fat, low-protein, low-carb diet. It has to be started in a specific way and followed very strictly, so you need a doctor's supervision.

Your doctor will watch closely to see whether or when any medication levels can be lowered. Because the diet is so specific, your child may need to take vitamin or mineral supplements

Doctors aren't sure why the ketogenic diet works, but some studies show that children with epilepsy who stay on the diet have a better chance of reducing their seizures or their medications.

For some kids, a modified Atkins diet may work, too. It is slightly different from the ketogenic diet. You don't have to restrict calories, protein, or fluids. Also, you don't weigh or measure foods. Instead, you monitor carbohydrates.

People with seizures that are hard to treat have also tried a low glycemic index diet. This diet focuses on the type of carbs, as well as the amount, that someone eats.

Medical Marijuana

A lot of attention has been focused on using medical marijuana to treat children with epilepsy, and many families are interested in learning more. Doctors haven't yet studied the use of medical marijuana in children who have LGS, and most of the studies using it to treat epilepsy have focused on short-term benefits. According to the Lennox-Gastaut Foundation, more research is needed to find out if this is a safe and effective treatment for children with LGS.

Surgery

If medications and other treatments aren't reducing the number of seizures, your doctor may suggest surgery.

The vagus nerve stimulator is a small device placed in the arm or near the chest. It sends electrical impulses to the vagus nerve, which runs from the abdomen to the brain. The nerve then sends those impulses to the brain to help control seizures. The surgery is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour.

The RNS stimulator is a device that's placed inside the skull and is connected to the brain. It senses any abnormal electrical activity and then sends electrical impulses to the brain to try to keep seizures from happening.

Corpus callosotomy divides the left and right hemispheres of the brain. That keeps seizures that start in one part of the brain from spreading to the opposite side. It is usually suggested only for people who have severe, uncontrollable seizures that cause them to fall and get hurt. Someone who has corpus callosotomy will need to stay in the hospital for 2 to 4 days, and will keep taking anti-seizure drugs after they go home.

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