Ketogenic diet

Last month the Times ran a really interesting article about the ketogenic diet.  For reasons that scientists don’t really understand, a diet that is almost completely fat seems to have a remarkable ability to reduce seizures among people with epilepsy.  Sounds great at first, but its hard to so ruthlessly cut out carbs and to really stick to the diet, especially for a kid.  The story shares one family’s experience:

Doing all this once is fascinating. Who knew that a cup of milk had more carbs than half a slice of toast or that macadamia nuts have more than twice the fat of pork rinds? But administering the diet for three meals and two snacks a day, seven days a week for two years is relentless. There is no “Let’s just order pizza” in our house, no matter how crazy the week has been. A barbecue at a friend’s house takes Evelyn 30 minutes of prep time. A sleepover takes two hours, because she labels all the food and writes out heating and serving instructions for the parents. Evelyn spent six hours preparing food for a three-day camping trip in August. Unexpected events that barely register in most families — like the fact that I recently ate the applesauce that was to be part of Sam’s breakfast — create mad scrambles to recalculate and reweigh meals so Sam gets out the door on time.

In our case, we’ve been really lucky that we’ve never had to consider anything this radical.  Lamictal has been Alex’s miracle drug.  I’ve read a lot of stories of families using this diet on the TSC parents list-serve I belong to– a number of whom failed to stay on the diet.  It’s hard.  When your kid is having seizures, though, and the drugs won’t work, you are certainly willing to try anything.



A little more on the health care ruling

What is really so annoying and absurd about this is ridiculous, alarmist headlines like this from the Times:

A Fatal Blow to Obama’s Health Care Law?

Please!  That’s what I’d expect from Fox News (okay, minus the question mark).  Actually, the series of experts in the discussion is quite interesting and I think most all of them make interesting points.  On matters of pure Constitutional jurisprudence, however, I think Jack Balkin makes the key point: Hudson’s ruling essentially asks us to return to a pre-1934 understanding of the Commerce Clause:

To make his case, Judge Hudson was forced to dredge up jurisprudence from the court’s Lochner Era, which has been discredited since the New Deal.

Judge Hudson had long since tipped his hand, so the actual result was not unexpected. What was unexpected was the remarkable weakness of his arguments. Perhaps the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will remind Judge Hudson that this is not 1934.

I also love Ezra Klein’s response to this.  The whole reason to have the individual mandate is to preserve a system of private health insurance! This is an idea to appease (reasonable, of which few are left) conservatives.  The other major alternative is a single payer system.  Is that really what conservatives want?

Also, Jon Chait more thoroughly spins out the case I was making in my previous post:

The real loser here is the health insurance lobby. Health insurers would have preferred to avoid any health care reform at all. But the health insurance lobby’s second-highest priority would be a working system with an individual mandate. A world in which they cannot discriminate against sick people but in which healthy people can avoid buying insurance until they’re sick is a nightmare.

The health insurance lobby spent tens of millions of dollars to defeat health care reform. They have a lot of pull among Republicans. A system that gouges the health insurers but keeps in place the subsidies and regulations liberals want is not a status quo I see lasting very long.

Y’all know how much I love Chait, so I love it when we come to the same essential points independently.  Anyway, this will certainly be interesting to follow from both the political and legal perspective, but I wish the media would actually try to keep this all in perspective.

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