Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 17:03 UK

High-fat diet aids epileptic girl

Denise Murphy describes how her daughter's life has improved

A nine-year-old girl from Devon with a severe form of epilepsy has seen a big improvement in her condition thanks to a high-fat diet, her family says.

Lucy Murphy, from Exeter, is on the ketogenic diet, which uses fat not carbohydrates as fuel for the brain.

The fat produces ketones, which can help prevent seizures, and is supported by a specialist dietician funded by the Daisy Garland charity.

Her mother, Denise, said: "It's given her back some sort of life."

Violent seizures

Before she started the diet 12 months ago Lucy suffered frequent violent seizures had to take large doses of medication which could affect her mood.

Now, she has started ballet lessons and is going to the Brownies.

Charity-funded dietician Alison Hill, who is based at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital, said the diet also did more than just help with seizure control.

She said: "Children are remembering things that they couldn't before, saying words that they haven't said before and other improvements."

The Daisy Garland charity said it hoped the dietician would be funded by the NHS in future, and believed such funding would help more people with epilepsy.

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