Medical Advisory Board

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Prof Tim Noakes

Prof. Tim Noakes was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and studied at the University of Cape Town (UCT) where he obtained an MBChB degree in 1974, an MD in 1981 and a DSc (Med) in Exercise Science in 2002.

He is Professor in the Discovery Health Chair of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town. He is also Director of the UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine and co-founder with Morné du Plessis of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA).

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Dr. James Butler

Dr. James Butler

–     Neurologist and Specialist in Epilepsy at Constantiaberg Medi-Clinic and Senior Specialist in the Departments of Neurology at University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch. He sits on The  International League Against Epilepsy commissions and conducted a fellowship in epilepsy at London Ontario, University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Birgit Schlegal

Dr. Birgit Schlegal

–      Birgit Schlegel is a Paediatric Neurologist at Constantiaberg Mediclinic in Plumstead, Cape Town and also consults at The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.


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Jo Wilmshurst

Associate Professor Jo Wilmshurst is Head of Paediatric Neurology at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, University of Cape Town, in South Africa. She has interests in rare neurological disorders, such as neuromuscular diseases, and in common high impact diseases, such as epilepsy.

Her work ethos is aimed towards developing improved care for children with neurological diseases in South Africa through the specialist services in her centre, training of health care specialists, the development of rational management templates which are viable in the African context, and the adaption of international recommendations. Her centre has supported and used the ketogenic diet as a therapeutic intervention for children with severe epilepsy for over 10 years.

She has over 60 peer reviewed publications. She is currently a member of the executive board of the Paediatric Neurology and Development Association of Southern Africa (PANDA-SA) and the African Child Neurology Association (ACNA). She is Secretary of the International Child Neurology Association. She is chair of the Commission on Paediatrics for the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), in addition she is chair of the ILAE task force for infantile seizure guidelines and co-chair of the Guidelines Task Force. She is director of the African Paediatric Fellowship Program – a training program under the auspices of the University of Cape which aims at developing skills in paediatric disciplines of doctors from across Africa.

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Kath Megaw

Kath Megaw is a clinical Paediatric dietitian who has been working in the field of paediatric nutrition for the last 18 years. She has focused on special needs nutrition for the last 10 years with a specific interest in the Ketogenic diet as a treatment for epilepsy. Kath has recently been elected as chairperson of the Keilah Foundation in 2013 and is excited about this initiative which will increase accessibility to the Ketogenic diet across South Africa and into Africa. Kath has also been invited to sit on the International League against Epilepsy Dietary therapies task force. She is passionate about her work and especially working with people who under normal circumstances wouldn’t have access to diet therapies.

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Dr Eric Kossoff

Dr. Kossoff received his medical degree from SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine in New York. He went on to complete a residency in pediatrics at EasternVirginiaMedicalSchool in Norfolk, Virginia. He completed a second residency in child neurology and a fellowship in pediatric epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Now an Associate Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Dr. Kossoff focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of childhood seizures and epilepsy, particularly treatments other than medications such as diet, neurostimulation and surgery. Specific interests include the ketogenic diet, the Atkins diet for children and adults, infantile spasms, hemispherectomy, the interaction of migraine headaches with epilepsy and Sturge-Weber syndrome.

Dr. Kossoff is also very involved in teaching and is the Director of the Pediatric Neurology Residency Program. He is a coauthor of Treatment of Pediatric Neurologic Disorders and the 5th edition of The Ketogenic Diet.

Certifications:

  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with special certification in child neurology
  • American Board of Pediatrics

Special Interests:

  • Seizures and Epilepsy – particularly treatments other than medications such as diet, neurostimulation and surgery.
  • Ketogenic diet,
  • Atkins diet for children and adults,
  • Infantile spasms,
  • Hemispherectomy,
  • Interaction of migraine headaches with epilepsy,
  • Sturge-Weber syndrome.

Beth Zupec-Kania

Beth Zupec-Kania

Beth Zupec-Kania is a Clinical Nutritionist in the United States. In 2002 she developed KetoCalculator, an online program for calculating ketogenic diets. Beth has worked with the ketogenic diet for 20 years and has trained over 100 facilities in 7 countries. She has authored many publications on ketogenic therapies.

sue-woodSusan Wood

Susan Wood has worked as a UK registered dietitian for 31 years treating a wide range of paediatric and adult conditions.  In 2008, the referral of one young adult for the dietary management of drug resistant epilepsy sparked her interest in ketogenic therapy and since then, she has been leading the development of adult treatment protocols in the UK and raising the awareness of dietitians and neurologists to the potential that ketogenic therapy can offer adults. In 2011 she joined the Matthews Friends Centre for Ketogenic Dietary Therapies in the UK where they provide a clinical ketogenic service to both adults and children with epilepsy.

Her experience with adults has shown her that even moderate dietary change can deliver benefits to some – making it a more practical possibility for many more adults who wish to trial this choice.  Yet dietary treatment is rarely offered to adults struggling immensely with drug resistant seizures.   To this end, she will support dietitians and neuro teams willing to explore this option for their patients and is honored to be part of the Keilah Foundation, working towards  accessibility for those across South Africa and into Africa.

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Bernadette Saayman

I completed my Bsc degree in dietetics at Stellenbosch university. I then started my career in foodservice before moving onto clinical dietetics at InkosiAlbertLuthuliHospital in durban. It was here that i had my first brief encounter with the ketogenic diet. In 2005  I relocated to Cape Town and continued my career at Red Cross War Memorial Childrens Hospital. I have had experience in pediatric oncology, renal disease, neurology, parenteral nutrition, surgical and gastro-intestinal disorders.

I currently oversee the dietary aspect of the ketogenic diet, together with the neurology team. While the first kd initiation was overwhelming these fears were quickly “dispersed” when we achieved our first successes.  Although this is quite a challenging treatment option for parents to follow, we have strived to make the kd as accessible  and user friendly as possible to our patient population.


SONY DSCTuschka Reynders

I’m a clinical dietician based in Pretoria, where I work in private practice with both adults and children. After obtaining my PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Johannesburg (study focused specifically in genetics and molecular biology), I extended my studies at the University of Pretoria in order to specialise in a complete different field – nutrition. I was introduced to the field of epilepsy early 2005, after which I discovered that this is where my passion lies. I’ve been in practice since 2005, where I mainly work with dietary therapies for epilepsy, which includes the ketogenic diet, Modified Atkins Diet and the adapted low glycaemic index diet.

I also have a special interest in the treatment of inborn errors of metabolism. I’m very privileged to be involved with Matthew’s Friends and to be part of the team to raise awareness and educate those that have little knowledge of the diet, which includes other health professionals.

emma_williamsEmma Williams

CEO/Founder – Matthews Friends Charity | Director – Matthew’s Friends Clinics for Ketogenic Dietary Therapies

Emma set up the charity in her son’s name in 2004 after Matthew had responded so well to the diet as it had been the only thing to give him his life back after years of constant seizures and brain damage.  Emma maintains to this day that it was the diet that saved his life but she had an enormous struggle for him to obtain the diet in the first place.  Her aim was always to give parents an informed choice, support families and patients and dispel the myths and misconceptions there are surrounding ketogenic dietary therapies.

The charity specialises solely in ketogenic dietary therapies and works closely with its medical board and works with charity partners and ketogenic centres around the globe. In 2011 they set up their own Treatment Clinic which not only treats children and adults with epilepsy but is now working with medical professionals looking at the possibility of ketogenic dietary therapies being helpful for Brain Cancer.

As well running Matthew’s Friends Charity and Clinics, Emma also serves on the UK Ketogenic Professional Advisory Board, she is on the Executive Committee of the British Joint Epilepsy Council as well as being part of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Epilepsy. She is the Chair for Dravet Syndrome UK and an International Patron for Diets for Epilepsy in India as well as serving on the ILAE Global Task Force for Dietary Therapies for Epilepsy.

In June 2013 Emma was recognised by The Queen and awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for her services to children with epilepsy.

In her spare time Emma is a keen cook, an avid England Rugby supporter and loves to read and go to the movies.  She has a partner, Peter and has two children, Matthew and Alice, as well as a step daughter, Lily.

dr-nathanDr J. Nathan

CV Dr. J. Nathan

M.D. Neurology, GMC and JJ Hospital, 1979
Consultant Neurophysician, Shushrusha Hospital
Fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 1984
Visiting Professor Johns Hopkins Hospital, Epilepsy Department 1996
Pioneer of the use of the ketogenic diet for uncontrolled epilepsy in India since 1997
Appointed as member of international ILAE Dietary Therapy Task Force 2013-2018

Chief Coordinator for India and Asia for the ‘Purple Day’ epilepsy awareness program in association with Anita Kaufmann Foundation, USA and Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Published articles

Journal of pediatrics, 1989- Oct 115(4):532-6
Convulsion in children undergoing renal transplantation

Indian Pediatr. 2009 Aug;46(8):669-73. Epub 2009 Apr 1.
Ketogenic diet in Indian children with uncontrolled epilepsy.
Nathan JKPurandare ASParekh ZBManohar HV

Indian Pediatrics August 2009; Volume 46: Number 8

Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Childhood Epilepsy – Expert Committee on Pediatric Epilepsy, Indian Academy of Pediatrics 681

Epilepsy Res. 2012 Jul;100(3):205-9. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2011.05.024.
Dietary therapies: a worldwide phenomenon.
Kossoff EHCaraballo RHdu Toit TKim HDMacKay MTNathan JKPhilip SG

Worldwide Dietary Therapies for Adults With Epilepsy and Other Disorders.
Cervenka MC, Henry B, Nathan J, Wood S, Volek JS.
J Child Neurol. 2013 May 13. [Epub ahead of print

PEDICON 2014 Book on Pediatric Epilepsy
Chapter on Ketogenic diet

Presentations at International conferences

  • Presented a paper and conducted a workshop on the ketogenic diet at  the International conference for ketogenic diet –London Oct. 2007
  • Special invitee to the International Symposium for ‘Dietary Therapies in Epilepsy’ – PHOENIX, USA Apr. 2008
  • Conducted a ketogenic diet workshop for 40 Pediatric Neurologists from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore – Nov.2008
  • Conducted a workshop on ketogenic diet in Korea at the Asian – Oceanic Conference (AOCCN) in Child neurology – 2009
  • Presented 2 papers on the ketogenic diet at the ICNC – Egypt 2010
  • Special Invitee to the 9th European Congress on Epileptology – Rhodes, USA, 2010
  • Presented a synopsis ‘Progress of KD in India’ at the International Symposium of Dietary therapies – Edinburgh, UK, 2010
  • Organized the first Indian ‘International Conference in Dietary Therapies’ – Mumbai, 2011
  • Presented a paper on the ketogenic diet at the Asian – Oceanic Epilepsy Conference- Xiamen, China – 2007
  • Presented keynote address on ‘The use of KD in adults and adolescents’ at the 3rd International Dietary conference in Sept 2012 at Chicago, USA
  • Two presentations at the European Neurological Society meet in Spain in June 2013

Epilepsy awareness programs and rural epilepsy initiative

Since twenty years Dr. J. Nathan with a group of volunteers from Mumbai have been conducting three epilepsy camps a year in the villages of Bidada and Bhojay in Kutch, Gujarat.

A total of sixty camps have been conducted with the help of local NGOs (Bidada Sarvodaya Trust and Bhojay Sarvodya Trust). Over 4000 patients have been treated and EEGs performed on all including all new patients and yearly follow-up EEG for all old patients. Medication is provide at 30% subsidy to all. Regular counseling is codicted for each family individually.

Since the December 2013 camp we have begun training village workers (125 Anganwadi and Asha Workers) to identify and refer persons with epilepsy to the camps for proper treatment. Also, they were trained in the emergency use of Midazolam nasal spray for prolonged seizures (Status epilepticus). We shall be training around 120-150 workers in every camp hence forward aiming to cover all villages.

A)   EPILEPSY AWARENESS 

  • Public awareness meetings We have organized four public meetings since 2011 for caregivers of persons with epilepsy
  • One for caregivers (Parents and teachers of Municipal Special schools for the mentally challenged
  • One for Dietary therapy in uncontrolled epilepsy with International experts from Johns Hopkins Hospital and London Childrens’ Hospital.
  • One for ‘Problems faced by Persons with epilepsy in education, employment and marriage” with a panel of experts (Psychiatrist, Neuropsychologist, Special Educator, Epilepsy Counselor and Neurologist)
  • One for general public
  • Three school programs on epilepsy
  • Skit by Balmohan school on epilepsy
  • Road program with posters on epilepsy information during Mumbai Marathon

Media information

  • TV – four TV programs on epilepsy awareness
  • Radio – sponsored blurbs during Purple Day and the week
  • Newspapers – regular articles and features especially during Purple month
  • Magazines – features regarding epilepsy and ketogenic diet

B) EPILEPSY CARE

  • Extend FREE/subsidized care Dave and JN
  • Mumbai – BMC all special schools (Mrs. Gargi Mhatre) and normal schools ( Dy. Commissioner) and lower economic strata (judged by orange ration card/Trustees)
  • Kutch – lower economic strata – judged by designated local volunteers (In-charge- Bhavin/Sonal

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Dr M.M Lippert

Paediatrician/Paediatric Neurologist at Unitas Hospital Centurion.

Member of PANDA ( Paediatric Neurology and Developmental Association of SA),
previously serving on the PANDA executive ,
and ICNA (International Child Neurology Association) ,
and European Paediatric Neurology Society ( EPNS),
and past member of the first SA chapter of the ILAE (International League against Epilepsy), 2002 .
Member of the Physicians Advisory Board of Unitas Hospital 2010 -2011.

Interests : Paediatric Epilepsy , Learning Disorders , Child Guidance , Neurogenetics ,
Paediatric pain and sedation .

Experience in Medico-Legal reporting and Witnessing
On Reviewer board of the JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC EPILEPSY .
Involved in College of Medicine of SA’s Examinations for Paediatric Neurology (examiner )