NBC’s Dateline has followed the story of Charlie Abrahams for over 10 years, charting his parents’ fight to get him on the ketogenic diet and keep him seizure free.
Charlie is the son of top Hollywood director, Jim Abrahams, most famous for the movies Airplane, Naked Gun and Hot Shots. Jim’s life took a dramatic turn when his one year old son Charlie started having seizures, which increased in frequency up to 100 per day. After visiting 6 doctors, numerous hospitalizations and many medications and treatments, including brain surgery, Charlie became a child his parents no longer recognised. Dad Jim says his son was turning into a “zombie” and he felt like he was losing him.
The report by Dateline shows the full story, as Jim decides enough is enough and goes on a journey to search for a solution. After attending lectures and scouring medical libraries he happened upon a book about the ketogenic diet. This high fat, low carbohydrate diet was being used successfully at the Johns Hopkins Medical Centre to stop seizures in children with up to 70% success rate. Within days of being on the diet, Charlie’s seizures stopped.
Yet finding help for their son was only the beginning of the journey for the Abrahams. So angry that no one had ever mentioned the ketogenic diet, they decided they had to spread the word to other parents.
The Dateline report shows a heart-warming and courageous battle of one family, as well as a startling admission by one of Charlie’s doctors, an expert at UCLA. He suggests a possible explanation why doctors don’t prescribe the ketogenic diet could be the lack of pharmaceutical backing and long-term medication, meaning less profit.