ADHD patients– not at increased risk for Celiac disease

It seems that so many conditions have been linked to Celiac disease; perhaps, Celiac disease is to health problems as Kevin Bacon is to actors (Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).  A notable exception may be ADHD (JPGN 2013; 56: 211-14).

In a prospective study from Turkey, a total 362 children between 5 and 15 years who were diagnosed with ADHD at a child psychiatry clinic (2007-2010) were evaluated.  Serum levels of tissue transglutaminase (TTG) IgA and IgG antibodies were obtained; serum IgA levels were determined in those with isolated TTG IgG positivity.  In addition, the authors identified a matched control group of 390 children.


  • TTG IgA seropositivity was noted in 4 patients with ADHD (1.1%) compared with 3 controls (0.8%).  Only one of the four ADHD patients had histologic evidence of celiac disease (0.27%).
  • There was a higher incidence of TTG IgG in the ADHD group, 3.9% compared with 0.5% in controls. However, serum IgA was normal in all of these patients (indicating that TTG IgA was likely reliable).  Followup TTG IgG testing was negative consistent with false positivity.

Perhaps this result is not surprising to those who have seen a ‘classic’ celiac disease presentation.  In these children who often had physical signs of malnutrition including a bloated abdomen, the effect of a gluten-free diet changed a “perfectly-behaved” (=listless) child into a very active toddler.  So, in these children, a gluten-free diet but not celiac disease triggered hyperactivity.

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