New Delhi (PTI): Following a modified Atkins diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates and taking medication may reduce seizures by over half in people with tough-to-treat epilepsy, according to a study by researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

The modified Atkins diet is a combination of the Atkins diet and a ketogenic diet that includes food items such as soy products, heavy cream, butter and oils, leafy green vegetables, and animal protein including eggs, chicken, fish, and bacon.

While the ketogenic diet has been shown to be effective in reducing seizures, its stringent requirements and restrictions can make it difficult to follow, the researchers said.

"For people with drug-resistant epilepsy, or those who have been unable to find effective treatment to reduce seizures, it's encouraging to see that there are lifestyle changes that can be combined with standard drug therapy to reduce the number of seizures," said Manjari Tripathi, from AIIMS New Delhi.

"Our study found that this combination may reduce the chance of seizures by more than half," said Tripathi, author of the study published in the journal Neurology.

The study involved 160 adults and adolescents who had epilepsy for more than 10 years on average and had at least 27 seizures per month despite trying an average of four antiseizure medications at the maximum tolerated dose.

They were randomly assigned to receive either standard drug therapy alone or drugs plus the modified Atkins diet over six months. Participants logged their seizures and meals.

They were given food lists, sample menus and recipes. Carbohydrate intake was restricted to 20 grams per day. US Federal dietary guidelines recommend between 225 and 325 grams of carbs per day.

After six months, researchers found that 26 per cent of people who had both drug therapy and followed the modified Atkins diet had more than a 50 per cent reduction in seizures compared to only three per cent of the people who had drug therapy alone.

Four people in the diet group were free of seizures by the end of the study, while no one in the medication-only group was seizure-free, the researchers found.

The study also looked at quality of life, behaviour and side effects at six months.

The group that had drug therapy and followed the modified Atkins diet showed an improvement in all areas compared to the group that had drug therapy alone, the researchers said.

They noted that 33 per cent of the participants did not complete the study due to poor tolerance of the diet, lack of benefit or the inability to follow-up in part due to COVID-19.

However, the researchers said tolerance of the modified Atkins diet was better than what is seen with the ketogenic diet.

"While the modified Atkins diet may be an effective treatment in controlling seizures, further research is needed to identify genetic biomarkers and other factors associated with the response to this diet," Tripathi added.

"This may improve patient care by encouraging targeted precision based earlier use of this diet," she added.

The researchers acknowledged a limitation in the study that seizures were self-reported or reported by caregivers, so some of them may not have been reported at all.

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Tumakuru (K'taka), Feb 6: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's helicopter factory -- the country's largest chopper manufacturing facility -- in Tumakuru district of Karnataka.

Bengaluru-headquartered HAL plans to produce more than 1,000 helicopters in the range of 3-15 tonne with a total business of more than Rs 4 lakh crore over a period of 20 years at this facility in Gubbi taluk, officials said.

The factory, spread across 615 acres for which the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone in 2016, would initially manufacture Light Utility Helicopters (LUH)).

It will enable India to meet its entire requirement of helicopters without import and giving much-needed fillip to the Prime Minister's vision of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' in helicopter design, development, and manufacture, they said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and senior officials of Ministry of Defence were among those present on the occasion.

"It is a dedicated new greenfield helicopter factory which will enhance India's capacity and ecosystem to build helicopters," Singh said.
Assembly polls in Karnataka are due by May.

PM Modi unveiled the LUH, which has been flight tested. The LUH is an indigenously designed and developed three-tonne class, single-engine multipurpose utility helicopter. Initially, the factory will produce around 30 helicopters per year and can be enhanced to 60 and then 90 every year in a phased manner, according to the Defence Ministry.

The factory will be augmented to produce other helicopters such as Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs) and Indian Multirole Helicopters (IMRHs). It will also be used for maintenance, repair and overhaul of LCH, LUH, Civil Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and IMRH in the future.

Potential exports of civil LUH will also be catered to from this factory, which is being equipped with state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 standard tools and techniques for its operations, officials said.

The proximity of the factory, with the existing HAL facilities in Bengaluru, will boost the aerospace manufacturing ecosystem in the region and support skill and infrastructure development such as schools, colleges and residential areas, it was noted.

The factory is fully operational after the establishment of facilities like heli-runway, flight hangar, final assembly hangar, structure assembly hangar, air traffic control and various supporting service facilities, officials said.