The ketogenic was designed in 1923 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic for the treatment of epilepsy. Inspired by the effects of fasting on people with epilepsy, Dr. Wilder postulated that restricting carbohydrates and promoting fat might create a similar metabolic state within the body and, thus, reduce seizures at a similar rate to fasting. He was right. The diet worked, reducing seizures by 50% or more in over 50% of people who tried the diet. The diet exploded in popularity until the 1940’s, when pharmaceuticals came onto the market for the treatment of seizures, effectively replacing the diet. Fortunately, the diet was saved from extinction when, in 1993, the Abrahams family brought their son, Charlie, to John Hopkins, the one medical institution in the nation still practicing ketogenic therapies for epilepsy. Charlie’s subsequent and miraculous cure spurred Charlie’s father, Jim, to write a screen play entitled “First Do No Harm”, staring Maryl Streep, which led to a feature of the Abrahams’ story on Dateline NBC in 1997. Since then, the diet has steadily increase in use for epilepsy, and is being researched for application across a variety of illnesses with a metabolic underpinning. 




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