Guide  Autoimmune diseases

Guide: Autoimmune Diseases

Range of neurologic disorders in patients with celiac disease.
Zelnik N, Pacht A, Obeid R, Lerner A.
Department of Pediatrics, Carmel Medical Center, The Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

OBJECTIVE: During the past 2 decades, celiac disease (CD) has been recognized as a multisystem autoimmune disorder. A growing body of distinct neurologic conditions such as cerebellar ataxia, epilepsy, myoclonic ataxia, chronic neuropathies, and dementia have been reported, mainly in middle-aged adults. There still are insufficient data on the association of CD with various neurologic disorders in children, adolescents, and young adults, including more common and "soft" neurologic conditions, such as headache, learning disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and tic disorders. The aim of the present study is to look for a broader spectrum of neurologic disorders in CD patients, most of them children or young adults.

METHODS: Patients with CD were asked to fill in a questionnaire regarding the presence of neurologic disorders or symptoms. Their medical charts were reviewed, and those who were reported as having neurologic manifestations underwent neurologic examination and brain imaging or electroencephalogram if required. Their neurologic data were compared with that of a control group matched for age and gender.

RESULTS: Patients with CD were more prone to develop neurologic disorders 51.4%) in comparison with control subjects (19.9%). These disorders include hypotonia,developmental delay, learning disorders and ADHD, headache, and cerebellar ataxia. Epileptic disorders were only marginally more common in CD. In contrast, no difference was found in the prevalence of tic disorders in both groups. Therapeutic benefit, with gluten-free diet, was demonstrated only in patients with transient infantile hypotonia and migraine headache.

 CONCLUSION: This study suggests that the variability of neurologic disorders that occur in CD is broader than previously reported and includes "softer" and more common neurologic disorders, such as chronic headache, developmental delay, hypotonia, and learning disorders or ADHD. Future longitudinal prospective studies might better define the full range of these neurologic disorders and their clinical response to a gluten-free diet.

PMID: 15173490 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Treatment for celiac disease requires elimination of the storage proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. The inclusion of oats and wheat starch is controversial. Research supports that oats may be acceptable for patients with celiac disease and can improve the nutritional quality of the diet. However, use of oats is not widely recommended in the United States because of concerns of potential contamination of commercial oats. Studies assessing the contamination of commercial oats are limited. Research indicates no differences in patients choosing a strict wheat starch-containing, gluten-free diet vs. a naturally gluten-free diet. Factors other than trace gluten may be the cause of continued villous atrophy in some patients.

  • The following can be eaten in any amount: corn, potato, rice, soybeans, tapioca, arrowroot, carob, buckwheat, millet, amaranth and quinoa.
  • Distilled white vinegar does not contain gluten

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