• Nicola Wenz

Brain Food Redefined

Food for the brain; four words that define the literal existence of Callie Addison.

There are countless different types of diets that exist today; each ultimately aimed at either weight loss

or for medical reasons. Of the ten most popular diets listed in an article published by Christian

Nordqvist, the Ketogenic diet ranks number three. This - rich in fat but low in carbohydrate - diet has

been proven to help reduce seizures in children who have epilepsy, a neurological disorder.

Five-year-old Malibu resident, Callie Addison, is epileptic and has been on the Ketogenic diet since

she was one year old. According to Darlene Addison, Callie’s mother, the Ketogenic diet is currently

the only successful mechanism helping Callie to live longer periods of time without experiencing a


“Callie was only eight months old when she had her first seizure,” Addison said. “When they

diagnosed her and said she has a seizure disorder, they asked if we wanted to start medication. We did

and it worked for a little bit, but then it didn't work. [Dravet Syndrome] is catastrophic because it’s

non-resistant to all drugs so children continue to seize. We started the Ketogenic diet and we did six

months seizure-freedom, so it totally worked.”

Dravet Syndrome, a rare but severe form of epilepsy found in children, affects one in 20,000 to one in

40,000 and causes multiple seizures (uncontrolled electrical impulses in the brain that can cause sudden

body movements, changes in behavior or loss of consciousness,) according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

The Ketogenic diet, however, helps to regulate the nerve impulses and is thus known to be, “the oldest

dietary therapy for Epilepsy, specifically in children,” according to the Neurology Center of Southern

California. During the Ketogenic diet, the body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis. During this

state, the body uses ketone bodies, which are derived from fat - a more stable and steady source of

energy than glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates.

To help raise awareness for children with Dravet Syndrome, the Addison family started a non-profit

organization in 2014 called Callie’s Cause. As founders, Darlene and Ryan Addison aim at helping

fundraise for epilepsy research at the University Of California, Los Angeles (UCLA,) hosting

fundraising events and clearing expenses for other families to help them visit medical trials.

“We’ve decided to go towards clinical trials,” Ryan said. “All those drugs that they’ve used throughout

the years hardly work. But now the new medicine is coming so we want to help people who cannot

afford traveling costs or housing to get to those trials.”

Other parts of the donations from Callie’s Cause include sending Keto baskets to the pediatrics

department at UCLA, according to Mrs. Addison.

“All the kids who come and try the diet for the first time, they get a Keto basket,” Darlene said. “The

basket is filled with all the stuff to help them with the diet because it's so intense and overwhelming.

But also with this trial in New York, we can further help other families who need help financially."

To watch interview with Darlene, click on the following link: https://youtu.be/qdS4qXHEPuo

Further information: https://youtu.be/qwzKYc939pM


Follow Nicola Wenz on Twitter: @Nicocowenz