October 18, 2021

Evaluation of the Effects of Ketogenic Diet Therapy on Sleep Quality in Children with Drug-Resistant Epilepsy and Their Mothers

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Background: Sleep disorders are common in drug-resistant children with epilepsy and their mothers. Ketogenic diet therapy (KDT) may have positive effects on sleep quality. The aim of this study was to evaluate the sleep quality of children with epilepsy and their mothers after starting KDT.

Methods: Using a prospective cross-sectional model, pre- and post-KDT questionnaires were given to the study subjects. A children’s sleep habits questionnaire was administered to children with epilepsy, and the Pittsburgh sleep questionnaire was administered to their mothers. Sociodemographic and some clinical categorical variables of the patient group were evaluated using descriptive statistics. Evaluation of the data was conducted using the Wilcoxon and paired t-tests as parametric and non-parametric tests.

Results: Of 24 patients scheduled to begin KDT between January 2019 and January 2020, 14 were included in the study. Regarding sleep quality, improvement was reported in 7 (50%) of 14 patients, deterioration in 5 (35.7%) patients, and no change was seen in 2 (14.3%) patients. Sleep quality was reported to improve in all working mothers. Seven (50%) patients reported no seizures and 6 (42.9%) patients reported more than 50% seizure reduction. Although there were improvements in sleep scores in both groups, these improvements were not statistically significant. A significant decrease in sleep anxiety was reported in children after the third month of the KDT (p = 0.09).

Conclusions: The results of this study determined that three months of ketogenic diet therapy offered significant improvement on the sleep anxiety of children with epilepsy. It was thought that paying attention to patient selection may lead to better sleep quality by increasing compliance to ketogenic diet therapy. However, a larger scale study and longer term follow-up should be done.

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