Treatment resistant epileptic children – Can they be helped ?

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that can be either idiopatic ( occur without a clearly identified cause) or can be a secondary effect of an injury to the brain. In epilepsy disturbed electrical signals cause seizures which depending on site and magnitude can be short or longer with loss of consciousness.

Epilepsy in children is usually much more complicated and has more consequences then adult epilepsy. Epileptic children has increased risk of developing anxiety and depression, social problems, learning problems and cognitive disturbance.

Up to 2% of children who gets epilepsy may develop periods of intractable epilepsy where they do not respond to medicine. The risks of treatment resistant epilepsy in children is severe and can lead to intellectual disability, psychiatric comorbidity, and sudden unexepected death.

For that reason – finding alternatives to medication has been extremely important for those children, and new studies seam to bring hope that they can be helped.

In my last article I went through 3 stories of people who unexpectedly recovered comas that they were not supposed to recover from because they were given high doses of Omega 3 to repair their brain tissue, and more importantly the nerve paths that process the signals in the brain.

So could Omega 3 supplementation also help drug resistant epileptic children ?

The answer appears to be yes. Animal studies has indicated that long chain Omega 3 fatty acids (from fish) have anti convulsant activity. A randomised placebo controlled study in US adults, showed that 1 gram of Omega 3 daily over 10 weeks reduced seizure frequency by 34% in people who stayed on their anti epileptic medicine. Simultaneously an egyptian study has shown negative correlation between DHA levels in the blood and the duration and severity of seizures in egyptian children with treatment resistant epilepsy.

But then another study was conducted also in egypt which is probably the largest and most comprehensive study to date on treatment resistant epilepsy and Omega 3. The study was made by Reda and colleagues at Alexandria University.

The children were randomly assigned to two groups – a fish oil group given 3 ml. fish oil with 18% EPA and 12% DHA daily over 3 months.

The first month after starting the fish oil intake, a 50% reduction in the number of seizures was noted. 60% of the children experienced freedom from seizures after two months and 20 of 35 children in the fish oil group was seizure free after after 3 months. No change was noted in the control group.

The study brings significant hope that something as simple as a low dose of Omega 3 from fish oil can help these otherwise doomed children. What we see these days as we become wiser and wiser on neurological conditions is that fish oil might be the most overlooked treatment to neurological disorders.

Further Reading and source material

Fish Oil Intake and Seizure Control in Children with Medically Resistant Epilepsy

Polyunsaturated fatty acids in children with idiopathic intractable epilepsy: Serum levels and therapeutic response