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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 1999 May;51(5):153-8

language: English

Partial cryptogenetic epilepsy and food allergy/ intolerance. A causal or a chance relationship? Reflections on three clinical cases

Pelliccia A., Lucarelli S., Frediani T., D'Ambrini G., Cerminara C., Barbato M., Vagnucci B., Cardi E.


The possibility that certain foods or allergens may induce convulsions has already been reported in the literature. None of these studies has, however, shown a close correlation between food allergy and epilepsy, most reports being anedoctical and open to various aetiological hypotheses. The present report concerns 3 children with cryptogenetic partial epilepsy, diagnosed by means of electroencephalography, with behavioural disorders (hyperactivity, sleep disorders and writing difficulties). In these patients, instead of using anticonvulsivant agents, treatment was based upon a cows milk-free diet, working on the hypothesis that there could be a casual relationship between intolerance to this food item and the epileptic symptoms. An improvement was observed in the children's behaviour and moreover, the electroencephalographic anomalies disappeared. Upon double blind oral provocation tests, these patients did not present an immediate reaction, but only after a few days. starting the controlled diet again led, in all cases, to disappearance of the electroencephalogram. In conclusion, it would appear feasible to hypothesize the role of food intolerance in the onset of convulsive crises, even if limited to certain types of epilepsy such as the cryptogenetic partial form.

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