Bambino Gesù docs see food as therapy

'Diet can heal epilepsy, PKU in children'

(ANSA) - Milan, September 22 - Rome's Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital, which is managed by the Vatican, has organized a conference at the Expo world's fair on food as therapy for metabolic and neurological diseases in children.
    Doctors have found that a low-carb, fat-rich diet helps prevent convulsions in children with drug-resistant epilepsy, for example.
    "This kind of diet is not very tasty...it requires strict oversight on the part of doctors and parents," said Bambino Gesù Neurosciences Department Director Federico Vigevano.
    The hospital is trying to come up with a more appetizing version of this diet, he added.
    Diet can also help control Phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare metabolic disease affecting some 50 newborns a year in Italy that can lead to intellectual disability, seizures, and other serious medical problems if left untreated. PKU sufferers must follow a strict low-protein diet in order to keep the disease from progressing.
    "Neonatal screening for metabolic diseases is widening its range," said Bambino Gesù Metabolic Diseases Director Carlo Dionisi Vici. "Soon we will be able to screen newborns for another 40 or 50 such illnesses, which is key to preventing and curing them".
    Bambino Gesù has come up with hundreds of different menus beneficial to child patients affected by such diseases.
   

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