14/08/2014 16:56 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Boy, Five, Who Had 50 Epileptic Fits A Day 'Cured' By High-Fat Diet


A boy who suffered up to 50 epileptic fits a day has effectively been cured – thanks to a high-fat diet.

Five-year-old Ben Fountain's seizures were so severe and so frequent that he had to wear a helmet. One episode was so violent that he broke a leg.

His family were at their wits' end after trying all kinds of different treatments and drugs.

Then, while searching in desperation for a solution, Ben's mum Juliet came across a special high-fat ketogenic diet for her son.

The special diet, which is carefully monitored at Nottingham Children's Hospital, means Ben must steer clear of carbohydrates and instead has a largely fat-based diet with meals such as scrambled eggs and chicken with mayonnaise.

But it has transformed his life: he has not had a fit for six months.

Mum Juliet, 43, of Woodthorpe, Nottingham, told her local paper: "Ben had a normal birth and, out of the blue, he had this horrific fit.

"One month later, he had another and they seemed to get more and more frequent - it was heartbreaking to see.

"The medication didn't seem to stop the seizures and turned him into a zombie. It felt as if our little boy was slipping away."

She added: "We had hit absolute rock bottom, so I started researching alternative treatments and found the ketogenic diet, which was offered at the hospital thanks to The Daisy Garland charity. "The whole thing just feels like a bit of a miracle."

Originally developed in the 1920s in America, the diet went out of favour following the discovery of anti-seizure drugs.

It is formulated to mimic the effect of fasting. When the body uses fat for energy instead of glucose, it produces ketones, which prevent seizures.

Juliet said: "Our beautiful, lively and sociable Ben was slipping away in front of our eyes. The medication he was on left him irritable, grumpy, lethargic and badly behaved - he was like a zombie.

"I felt really guilty as a mother giving my son this unhealthy food.

"It went against everything I had been told was right and responsible as a parent but, on the other hand, it's meant he's stopped having seizures, so it really is a case of weighing up what's best for Ben."

Dad Mark said: "His development started to regress and he would need supervision even to go to the toilet, as he may have a seizure and fall into or off the toilet.

"But it's like we have Ben back now."

He added: "It was so nice when we went on holiday to Brittany and he could run around and play.

"It all just feels like a bit of a miracle really."