The Ketogenic diet on Dateline 24 years ago (Charlie Foundation)


(netposer) #1

How crazy this must have seemed back in 1994!

Seems like even back then the Dr’s knew drugs would always trump diet even though the success rate of the keto diet was 50-70%. No drugs at the time could even come close to that. And the one doctor still insisted they should try even more drugs to help Charlie even after Keto. Ugh!

This is how the Charlie Foundation started. If you don’t know what the Charlie Foundation is check out their site.
Charlie’s dad Jim Abrams, was the creator of the movies Airplane and The Naked Gun (and many more comedies)

" In 1993, 11 month old Charlie Abrahams developed difficult to control epilepsy. As a last resort, while Charlie was experiencing multiple daily seizures and multiple daily medications, his parents turned to a Ketogenic Diet for help. The diet worked. Charlie became seizure and drug free within a month. He was on the diet for five years and now eats whatever he wants. He has never had another seizure. "

(squirrel-kissing paper tamer) #2

Touching piece. Thanks for sharing.

(Brian) #3

This hits hard with me. I have a brother who started having epileptic seizures in the early 1970’s. I was just a little kid at the time. Mom & dad took my brother to lots and lots of doctors and just like in this story, not a single one ever mentioned the ketogenic diet, at least not that I ever heard.

He was mentally handicapped from birth to begin with but managed, with much help, to go through the sixth grade at a private school that my other brother and myself went to.

Even with medications, the seizures did continue and I believe took a toll on him both mentally and physically. He is now “retired” and living in a group home with others much like him. Still on medications and from what I understand, still having the occasional seizure.

Honestly, at this point, I don’t imagine there is a lot that would help him. His mind is not good. His body has wasted away badly. And I doubt he’s long for this world. I am not in a position to do anything for him if I wanted to. (It’s a little more complicated than I’d like to go into here.)

But I do wonder what might have been had one of those doctors, some of which were pretty loosely credentialed from what I can remember, had actually encouraged them to try the ketogenic diet. How might that have impacted the lives of our whole family? It’s only in the last 14 or 15 months that I’m figuring this out for myself.

I know, a person can’t go back in time. Some of the ones of our family that are able to are at least having a look at low-carb eating. Maybe my having lost 70 pounds this past year and pretty much looking normal again rather than obese at least gives them a reason to look, don’t know. But some aren’t here anymore or aren’t long for this world. And I can only wonder, “what if?”

Kinda gut wrenching when I think about suffering that maybe didn’t need to be…


Yup. I hear ya.

(Jane) #5

Will watch video when I get home. I loved the zany Airplane movies!

off topic
My ex was at a Celebrity golf tournament in Houstom one year and said Leslie Neilson was as goofy and funny in person as he was on the big screen.

I watched one of the Airplane movies in “commentary” mode and laughed at all the background info. It was a shoestring budget movie. When Leslie Neilson’s nose started growing they had him in profile and used a broomstick! Many of the extras in the movie were relatives.

(Michelle isaacson) #6

@Bellyman that is so tough! The “What ifs.”
May have changed his and your entire family’s lives. Hugs my friend!

(Brian) #7

Thank you, Michelle! I appreciate the kind words, very much.

What-ifs can be brutal, especially when I’m one of my own worst critics. And so many things in my past I so wish I could push a reset button on… do good things I didn’t, not do (or say) stupid and boneheaded things, some of which I knew good and well I shouldn’t have.

But life goes forward. Thankful for new days to try again. :slight_smile:

(Michelle isaacson) #8

@Bellyman we can never go back and can always move forward. :heart:

(CharleyD) #9

This breaks my heart. The dilemma about evangelizing keto-IF is that no one wants to listen even though all things being equal everyone’s health would likely improve somewhat. I bet even if you could go back in time, it would be a hard, hard sell.

The worst health problems my immediate or extended family has are lipid disregulations so there’s not a big gun to anyone’s head (yet). They won’t entertain keto at all.

But for a disease that keto was MADE for? That’s tragic.

(Brian) #10

Thanks, Charlie! You are very right in saying that many wouldn’t listen anyway. I have to ask myself whether I would have been this receptive back then. And if I’m honest, I don’t know. I was still pretty brainwashed in the McDougall mindset as were many around me. But I wasn’t staring down the gun of obesity, insulin resistance, and other things back then…

(Bunny) #11

That’s the part that fascinates me to no end when we are born into a world where high octane carbohydrates is the main staple of the diet impairing neuroplasticity (building new neural pathways) in the early stages of life? Once a neural pathway is layed out it cannot be changed or ever had a chance to fully develop to begin with!

Reason ketogenic was put on the back burner was because of the development of pharmaceuticals to support the high octane intake of carbohydrates?

”…It is thought that fasting or a fasting-mimicking diet (such as a ketogenic diet) have potential for improving neurodegenerative disorders by upregulating BDNF (3). This upregulation of BDNF practically combats neurodegeneration in a way by supporting the continued growth and development of neuronal connections. …” …More


”… Neurogenesis is the process our body goes through to create new neurons (1). The more activity a particular brain or neuronal cell is, the more neurogenesis takes place in the various pathways it fires into. Much like a tree with branches, these neurons go through a neurogenesis process called dendritic sprouting where they branch out to connect with other neurons.

One neuron can have up to 30,000 such connections, creating a dense set of interconnected activity (2). These neurons can be stimulated directly through real life experience and mental imagery. They can also be stimulated in an indirect way through the connections they have with their neighboring neurons. Neurobics is one way to stimulate more of this neurogenic process in our brain and body. …” …More

”… Glutamate and GABA are two very important neurotransmitters that are responsible for focus and relaxation, respectively. Proper neurological function requires a balanced interplay between these two.

An imbalance in these neurotransmitters , which often manifests as an excess of glutamate, has been associated with brain disorders such as autism, Lou Gehrig’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, and mood disorders. Additionally, those with excess glutamate and low GABA levels will tend to feel anxious, have trouble sleeping and experience brain fog. …” …More

(Candy Lind) #12

I doubt there are many of us that HAVEN’T had at least one “what if.” My FIL, a cousin (or five), a friend with ALS, my BFF with her bad knees & T2D hubby - so many others that I’d like to say “Just give it a month!”