Personalizing Dietary Therapy for Patients With Epilepsy: Robyn Blackford, RD, LDN


The registered dietician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago provided commentary on the multidisciplinary efforts to tailor a patient’s diet. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"I’ll ask, ’have you ever been on formulas that you haven’t tolerated well?’ That might give me a clue as to how we can transform your current diet into a ketogenic diet, and still keep some of the favorite things that the patient can tolerate well.”

Despite the increasing number of anti-seizure medications (ASMs) available, there remains a large portion of patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. The use of dietary therapy is well-established for those whose seizures remain refractory. Over time, variations of the classical ketogenic diet, including the modified Atkins, modified ketogenic, medium chain triglyceride, and low glycemic index diets, have been developed and implemented to better personalize our approach to different patient needs.

The implementation of these diets typically begins at a young age, but is subject to change over time. For Robyn Blackford, RD, LDN, emphasizing the need for a multidisciplinary team approach with appropriately trained neurologists and dieticians is crucial to providing the most holistic care possible while a patient is either on diet or being introduced to a diet. Blackford, a registered dietician at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, noted that a thorough conversation with the patient about what they like to eat, what they can tolerate, and what they prefer not to not have cut out of their diet will help lead to better outcomes and a more sustainable regimen.

In an interview with NeurologyLive, Blackford discussed the process for evaluating and tailoring a diet to a patient with epilepsy’s needs. She also spoke on the roles neurologists, dieticians, and other specialists play throughout this process.

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